Ryanair pilots not threatening industrial action, Michael O'Leary says

"There isn't a union".

Ryanair has been forced to cancel around 50 flights a day until the end of October due to a mess-up over its pilot leave.

Former Ryanair pilot James Atkinson, writing in the Guardian, said the airline uses divide and control tactics to keep pilots on different kinds of contracts and to prevent them from organizing.

There have been suggestions of a strike over conditions at Ryanair, an airline where CEO Michael O'Leary had previously referred to pilots as "glorified taxi-drivers". The Guardian newspaper also reported that Ryanair pilots are trying organize a protest under which they would refuse to do any work beyond what is required by their contracts, which would cause more scheduling headaches for the airline.

During the AGM in Dublin today (Thursday 21 September) Mr O'Leary told Ryanair shareholders the airline does not need the agreement of the pilots in order to take back a week of leave. Since that announcement and the chaos that followed, stranded passengers have complained that Ryanair isn't providing the correct information for refunds and compensation for cancelled flights and that calls are going unanswered.

The Irish Examiner reports a draft letter signed by Ryanair pilots has warned they will "work to rule". "We are not short of pilots, we have 4,200 of them", he said.

The low-priced Irish airline is forced to cancel up to 50 flights every day from today until October 28 because they "messed up" plotting their pilots' schedules and holidays, BBC confirmed.

Ryanair has announced plans to recruit 125 new pilots in "the next week or two" as the airline faces mounting criticism for cancelling thousands of upcoming flights.

Such moves "should help stop the large number of colleagues who are leaving for "greener pastures" the letter said.

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.

Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary rejected claims an exodus of pilots to rivals was behind what he described as a "mess of our own making".