UK pilot union BALPA has disclosed that members employed by Ryanair have voted 96% in favour of taking temporary pay cuts to save under-threat jobs.

Ryanair had in May warned that 330 pilot jobs were at risk in the UK, including 70 from the potential closure of four bases: Leeds BradfordPrestwick, Bournemouth and Southend.

BALPA says “intensive negotiations” with the airline have yield a package of cost savings. Pilots have accepted a 20% pay reduction to save 260 of the at-risk jobs. Most of the rest are linked to the mooted base closures and “still to be resolved”, adds the union.

It vows: “We will remain in negotiations with the airline about those jobs and aim to protect those too.”

Pilot pay will be restored to 100% over the next four years, BALPA stresses.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary had earlier on 1 July signaled that most of the pilot and cabin crew job losses outlined in May could be avoided if employees agreed to pay reductions.

Appearing on the BBC as Ryanair began began reinstating 40% of its normal capacity across 90% of its network, O’Leary said: “We’ve already announced about 3,000 job losses but we’re engaged in extensive negotiations with our pilots, our cabin crew, and we’re asking them to all take pay cuts as an alternative to job losses.”

He added that the Irish low-cost carrier was seeking reductions starting at 20% “from the best-paid captains” and 5% “from the lowest-paid flight attendants”. With those savings, “we can avoid most but not all job losses”, said O’Leary.

In early May, Ryanair disclosed preparations to eliminate up to 3,000 crew positions from July and close a number of European bases. It also axed more than 250 office-based jobs at four locations. The airline said its restructuring would involve unpaid leave as well as pay cuts.