Belfast Telegraph

Ryanair rehires former flight operations director in wake of cancellations row

Ryanair has rehired its former flight operations director in a bid to ensure there is no repeat of recent flight cancellations.

Peter Bellew, who left in 2014, will return as chief operations officer on December 1 following the airline's mismanagement of pilots' leave.

Michael Hickey stood down from the role after the airline cancelled 20,000 flights.

On Monday Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: " I don't think it was a triumphal period in the history of Ryanair".

Mr Bellew, who is currently chief executive at Malaysia Airlines, will take responsibility for pilot production, training and career development, with a "mission to ensure that the pilot rostering failure which Ryanair suffered in early September will never be repeated", according to the Dublin-based carrier.

Chief executive Michael O'Leary said: "We are pleased to welcome Peter back to Ryanair.

"Having worked previously in a senior role in our operations team, Peter has an unrivalled knowledge of our business model and how we maintain controlled growth, with industry leading punctuality, for the benefit of our customers and our people.

"Peter will lead a significant transformation in the way we reward and interact with our pilots, improve their working environment and career development over the coming years."

Mr O'Leary angered pilots shortly after the flights were cancelled by claiming they do not suffer fatigue from short-haul flying and urged them to " explain how this is ... a difficult job".

Mr Bellew said: " I am excited to return home to Ryanair and take up the challenge to grow the operation sustainably. I look forward to working with all the team and all the crews I know so well."

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