Ryanair offers pay rise to some pilots on top of bonus

"I don't even know how there would be industrial action in Ryanair", he said. "There isn't a union".

The current pilot crisis is deepening for Ryanair as crews have rejected a financial offer by the budget airline to work through holidays.

The airline did not need pilots' agreement for the change, he said.

Ryanair is cancelling 40 to 50 flights daily for the next six weeks, till the end of October, after it admitted to having "messed up" the planning of pilot holidays.

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On Wednesday, a group of pilots turned down an offer of up to £12,000 to keep flying during their scheduled leave, many of them putting their names to a letter demanding improved employment terms instead.

The Irish Air Line Pilots' Association says the real problem is that Ryanair failed to plan for the implementation of new European safety regulations that take effect January 1 and require all airlines to use a regular calendar year for calculating pilot flight hours and working days.

O'Leary added that they are compensating for the rebooking of flights for their passengers who are eligible to receive compensation based on the European passenger rights legislation. Norwegian, a rival low-priced carrier with outsized ambitions, claims to have recruited over 140 Ryanair pilots this year (out of around 4,200 at the Irish carrier).

Chief Executive Michael O'Leary said the cancellations were caused by a transition to a new system of allocating leave to pilots, but he denied suggestions from a pilot group that it has a deeper problem in hiring and retaining pilots.

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In response to the offer the Employee Representative Council, which represents 17 Ryanair bases, said the majority of their colleagues had voted in favour to reject the proposal.

He also said the airline is considering forcing 500 pilots to change their holiday plans to avoid risking additional flight delays.

Separately, some Ryanair pilots have spoken to the about a "toxic" atmosphere and how they felt "undervalued".

The airline said it expects to have re-accommodated (or authorised refund requests to) over 95pc of the 315,000 customers affected by these cancellations by the end of the week.

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