Ryanair PLC’s (LON:RYA) pilots have accepted a temporary 20% pay cut as an alternative to widespread job cuts. 

Pilots union Balpa said 96% of its members had accepted the cut rather than face the risk of losing their job.

Micheal O’Leary had told the BCC earlier: “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.

“We’re looking from 20% from the best-paid captains, 5% from the lowest-paid flight attendants and we think if we can negotiate those pay cuts by agreement, we can avoid most but not all job losses.”

O’Leary’s comments came as the airline said it expected to carry around 4.5mln passengers in July as it ramps back up towards its normal flight schedule following lockdown.

The airline celebrated the event by launching what it said it was biggest ever sale of cheap tickets with 500,000 one-way seats on offer in late August and September from £19.99.

Ryanair has resumed 1,000 daily flights from today, which is around 40% of its schedule for a peak summer month and a drop of about 70% on capacity a year ago.

The airline carried only 110,000 passengers in total in April and May due to the restrictions in flying imposed during the coronavirus lockdown period.

“These 1,000 daily flights mark an important turning point for Ryanair and for the tourism industry of Europe,” said O’Leary in a statement.

EasyJet (LON:EZJ) resumed a small-scale service in June and expects to be at 30% of normal capacity during the peak summer season.

Ryanair shares were little changed at €10.62.