Ryanair reaches pay-freeze agreement with pilots

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Irish budget carrier Ryanair has negotiated a 12-month pay freeze and productivity increase among its pilots after concluding negotiations across its 31 European bases,

The carrier claims its pilots have "overwhelmingly" voted in favour of the pay freeze. The alternative was a 10% pay cut.

Ryanair executive David O'Brien says: "These are extraordinarily difficult times in the airline industry. In Ryanair, we are still lowering air fares, which means we will suffer losses in both our third and fourth quarters of the 2008-09 financial year.

"Our pilots have recognised the difficulties we face and are making their contribution by negotiating this pay freeze and productivity increase as the preferred alternative to pay cuts."

Ryanair says its management team has already accepted significant pay cuts.

O'Brien adds that the airline is "tightening its belt" to meet a target of 5% reduction in unit costs over the coming year.