Ryanair plans 500-700 job cuts as O'Leary bags bonus

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary holds a news conference in Machelen near Brussels, Belgium in this Oct. 9, 2018, photo. — Reuters

DUBLIN — Ryanair's Chief Executive Michael O'Leary said he plans to cut 500-700 jobs at the airline as shareholders narrowly approved a bonus scheme on Thursday that could earn him around 100 million euros ($111 million) over five years.

The bonus scheme, which requires him to either double the profitability or share price of the carrier within five years, was backed by 50.5% of votes at a shareholder meeting.

O'Leary said he was making very significant progress with unions but said the airline has a surplus of 500 pilots and he was planning between 500-700 job losses, which may include Dublin where the company has its headquarters.

He said some staff were being offered 12-months unpaid leave while for others, compulsory redundancies could be announced in the coming weeks.

The company has about 17,000 employees across Europe and warned in July that it could cut as many as 900 jobs.

O'Leary in February said he would stay for another five years at Europe's largest low-cost airline, whose share price has roughly halved over the past two years amid a series of disputes with unions and delays to the delivery of the grounded Boeing 737 MAX.

O'Leary has led Ryanair for the past 25 years and is shifting to be CEO of a new group structure, overseeing the firm's four airline subsidiaries. — Reuters