CAPA live. Ryanair: Growth is good for airline jobs. 2000 pilots needed
- Ryanair has 205 planes to deliver by 2024.
- In Europe, only Wizz Air has more orders in progress in total, but Ryanair more deliveries expected by 2024.
- Ryanair aims to add more than 51 million annual passengers and c160 aircraft in fiscal 2026 compared to fiscal 2020; Wizz Air aims to add approximately 50 million annual passengers and c125 aircraft.
- Ryanair cut flying hours and pay during the crisis, but agreed to return to normal hours and pay on resumption.
- Ryanair should be able to offer more job opportunities than its European competitors.
Ryanair has 205 planes to deliver by 2024
Ryanair said the 2,000 new pilots would be needed to outfit its planned aircraft deliveries over the next three years.
According to the CAPA fleet database as of July 12, 2021, Ryanair has taken delivery of the first five of its order for 210 Boeing 737 MAX 8-200s. The remaining 205 are expected to be delivered by 2024.
In Europe, only Wizz Air has more orders in total
Ryanair’s exceptional order of 205 aircraft is the second highest of any airline group in Europe. Topping the list is Wizz Air – like Ryanair, an ultra-LCC – with 241 narrow-body Airbuses on order.
The two ultra LCCs are well ahead of Lufthansa and Aeroflot, which jointly occupy third place with a total of 157 pending orders, including both small and large aircraft.
The next biggest narrow rocket order after Wizz Air and Ryanair is for the 108 deliveries of the Airbus A320 family due to easyJet, with the majority of deliveries not due until 2024-2027.
Norwegian Air Shuttle has ordered 91 Boeing narrow-body aircraft, a legacy of its rich past, but delivery dates are uncertain as the group restructures.
Ryanair has more deliveries expected in the next three years than Wizz Air
The two ultra-LCCs, Wizz Air and Ryanair, have by far the largest orders in Europe. However, Wizz Air deliveries extend until 2027.
Ryanair’s 205 deliveries are all expected over the next three years until the end of 2024, well ahead of the 109 from Wizz Air expected in the same time frame.
Ryanair aims to add more than 51 million annual passengers and c160 aircraft in fiscal 2026 compared to fiscal 2020
Ryanair’s 737MAX deliveries will be used in part to replace the older 737-800s, but will also be critical to achieving traffic growth. It aims to carry over 200 million passengers in fiscal year 2026 (year until March-2026).
In fiscal 2020, most of which was pre-COVID, Ryanair carried 140 million passengers.
This figure fell to 27.5 million in fiscal 2021. For the current fiscal year, FY2022, Ryanair expects traffic to be in the lower end of a guide range of between 80 million and 120 million. of passengers.
Compared to FY2020, the FY2026 target represents more than 51 million additional passengers.
Net of aircraft withdrawals, its fleet is expected to grow by around 160 out of the 441 it had at the end of fiscal 2020 to exceed 600 in 2026.
Wizz Air aims to add approximately 50 million annual passengers and c125 aircraft in fiscal 2026 compared to fiscal 2020
Wizz Air carried 40 million passengers in fiscal 2020 (it also has a March end).
It doesn’t have a future annual passenger target, but its fleet plan aims to just over double it, from 121 million planes at the end of fiscal 2020 to 246 planes by the end of fiscal 2020. fiscal year 2026.
An increase in the average aircraft size from 200.8 seats to 228.5 (due to deliveries of A321neo) is expected to more than double the number of passengers to around 90 million in fiscal year 2026. This would represent 125% growth for Wizz Air, compared to around 45% for Ryanair.
However, Wizz Air’s additional 50 million passengers from FY2020 to FY2026 would not quite match Ryanair’s over 51million.
Ryanair reduced flying hours and paid during the crisis …
During the 2021 financial year, the personnel costs of the Ryanair group decreased by 57% to 472.2 million euros. Labor costs are not in line with the 74% drop in sectors surveyed, in part because not all jobs are directly related to the flight, but also because Ryanair’s approach was to keep as much as possible in anticipation of the recovery.
Likewise, Wizz Air’s 43% reduction in personnel costs in FY2021 was less than its 62% reduction in flights.
Ryanair minimized job losses by accepting reductions in hours and wages for flight crew and participating in government employment assistance programs. The staff costs figure above for fiscal year 2021 is net of € 84 million of government payroll support in Ryanair’s markets (without which the reduction would have been only 50%).
… but agreed to return to normal hours and pay on the resumption
The increase in Ryanair’s capacity from the low point of the coronavirus pandemic is now leading to a return to normal activity levels for some of its pilots. The agreements with the pilots during the crisis envisaged it.
Pilots at Ryanair’s Spanish bases have suffered a reduction of 20 to 50% of their professional activity, under a regulation on temporary work in Spain.
On June 24, 2021, the Spanish pilots union SEPLA announced that these pilots will return 100% of their hours and wages. Ryanair is the second airline, after easyJet, to exempt itself from the regulation on temporary work in Spain.
According to SEPLA, Ryanair responded to pressure from the union, which did not want the airline to use external staff while retaining the work restructuring measure.
While SEPLA’s statement contained some moderate criticism of Ryanair and the possibility that it would bring in outside pilots, its tone was generally positive and optimistic about the relationship with the airline and the prospects for a collective agreement for pilots.
According to Ryanair’s Eddie Wilson, speaking to CAPA Live on July 14, 2021, employees appreciate the airline’s pragmatic approach to cutting hours and wages during the crisis, and its commitment to restore pre-COVID conditions .
“… We are straightforward in the way we do business and the vast majority of our employees recognize this. Most people in this world want to work less and be paid more. That’s good, but it’s not. time for that. We made these deals very, very quickly, and it depends on our people and what they think needs to be done… “Wilson said.
Ryanair should be able to offer more job opportunities than its European competitors
Ryanair and Wizz Air forecast aggressive growth over the next four to five years, more than other airlines in Europe.
Wizz Air’s growth will be faster in percentage terms, but Ryanair’s growth plans imply that it will add more aircraft and passengers in absolute terms.
This suggests that Ryanair should be able to offer more job opportunities in the next four to five years than any other airline group in Europe.
Growth should be positive for social relations at Ryanair
There have been times when Ryanair has been criticized for its human resources policy.
In the past, industrial relations were sometimes tarnished by its use of contract staff, its preference for Irish labor law over local labor in employment contracts and its refusal to negotiate with unions until 2018.
However, in an environment where many major airline groups competing with Ryanair will be burdened with debt and / or state aid repayments, Ryanair’s growth could be an advantage in attracting and retaining flight personnel.
Growing airlines not only offer more recruiting opportunities, but also more promotional opportunities.
Mr Wilson certainly thinks the growth is positive for industrial relations at Ryanair. He summarized his message to employees during his intervention at CAPA Live on 14-Jul-2021:
“Very simple message: we will save the jobs and you will recover the wages in the next three to four years, and the promotions and everything will continue, and the new planes are coming.”