According to at least one report, pilots at recently shuttered Monarch Air won’t be out of work for long if Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has anything to say about it.
With a curt message on social media, Luton Airport (LTN)-based Monarch Airlines ceased operations on Sunday. The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) estimates that more than 40,000 air travelers were stranded when the carrier abruptly entered bankruptcy and grounded all of its flights.
“Monarch customers in the UK: don’t go to the airport,” the airline wrote in a farewell Twitter post. “There will be no more Monarch flights. This page will no longer be monitored.”
While the sudden shuttering of the popular holiday airline has caused a near crisis for ticket-holding passengers left high and dry around the globe, bad news for Monarch passengers could be good news for Ryanair passengers, who have had their own set of problems to contend with as of late. Dublin Airport (DUB)-based Ryanair has canceled tens of thousands of flights since early spring.
The no-frills Irish carrier has been circumspect about the reasons for the unprecedented service disruptions, but in recent weeks, speculation that the airline is facing a serious shortage of qualified pilots has grown pervasive. Former Ryanair Captain James Atkinson went public with allegations that “dire woking conditions” at Ryanair has led to a mass exodus of qualified pilots from the airline. Subsequent reports that competitor Norwegian Air hired 140 pilots directly from Ryanair’s ranks, seem to further back up Atkinson’s assertion.
Now, according to a report in the Mirror, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary is exploring Monarch’s demise as a ready-made solution to his airline’s recruitment and retention troubles. If, however, O’Leary intends to cannibalize talent from his bankrupt competitor, he will have some serious competition. The Daily Mail reports that British Airways’ parent company, International Airlines Group (IAG) has expressed interest in acquiring both assets and personnel from the defunct airline.
Should O’Leary manage to headhunt newly-out-of-work pilots from Monarch, the move won’t necessarily offer an immediate solution to the serious crew scheduling issues at Ryanair. While the carrier flies a fleet made up entirely of Boeing 737 aircraft, Monarch still operated a fleet comprised primarily of Airbus planes when it ceased operations this week.