A Ryanair Boeing 737-800 plane takes off from the airport in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Picture: REUTERS/PAUL HANNA
A Ryanair Boeing 737-800 plane takes off from the airport in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Picture: REUTERS/PAUL HANNA

Ryanair Holdings is starting one of the biggest recruitment drives among European airlines, adding 2,000 pilots over the next three years as the carrier plans to grab market share from rivals weakened by the pandemic.

Europe’s biggest discount carrier needs pilots to fly its new Boeing 737 Max jets, which it began taking last month, Ryanair said Monday. The carrier will start training new hires this year, aiming to have crews ready for next summer.

The Irish carrier is counting on lockdown-weary travellers flocking to the beach this year, and has been adding capacity as it looks to scale up after a near-standstill in flights during the pandemic. Ryanair has 210 Boeing 737 Max jets on order. Ryanair is adding staff as Deutsche Lufthansa, Air France-KLM and Portugal’s TAP have been cutting jobs.

While European countries began opening for travel this month, the UK will lift mandatory quarantines for vaccinated Brits returning from holiday from countries on its so-called amber list starting July 19.

Ryanair shares fell as much as 3.4% and were down 0.9% at 3.32pm in Dublin.

Last year, at the height of the pandemic, Ryanair reached a deal with its pilot and cabin crew unions to cut pay to stave off 3,000 job cuts.

Bloomberg L.P. More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

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