Ryanair is set to create 5,000 jobs over the next five years as the budget airline plans its recovery.
The expansion comes after the company announced at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic that it would lay off 3,000 workers due to the crisis.
But chief executive Michael O’Leary said the carrier is in a better position and has been snapping up slots vacated by collapsed airlines due to coronavirus hitting the industry hard.
Speaking ahead of the company’s annual shareholder meeting, he said: “Ryanair will open 10 new bases across Europe this year as we work with airport partners to help them recover traffic and jobs post-Covid, and take up slot opportunities that are being vacated by competitor airlines who have collapsed or significantly reduced their fleet sizes.
“Ryanair expects to create over 5,000 new jobs for pilots, cabin crew and engineers over the next five years, and the group is excited to have, earlier this week, opened a 50 million euro (£43 million) Aviation Training Centre in Dublin, with two further high-quality training centres planned for Spain and Poland over the next five years.”
He added: “We can recover strongly from the Covid pandemic and deliver higher-than-expected growth in both traffic and jobs over the next five years.”
Ryanair also upgraded forecasts for growth over the next five years, with projections that passenger numbers will grow by 50%, compared with 33% previously predicted.
Bosses said they now expect to fly 225 million passengers by March 2026 – 25 million more than previous targets.