Four hundred Ryanair pilots and cabin crew will be forced to take one week of unpaid leave this year due to flight cut backs from Dublin and Stansted.
Michael O’Leary also said Ryanair executives would also receive a pay cut of at least 10 per cent because of the current woes sweeping the aviation industry.
The unpaid holiday will be imposed on staff at Dublin and Stansted, based on an average Ryanair salary of €60,000, costing about €1,150 in lost earnings.
Mr O’Leary said that he expected at least two more European airlines to collapse within the next month. He also thought only five large carriers would survive the downturn - Ryanair, easyJet, British Airways, Air France-KLM and Lufthansa.
He said: “The world is going into not just a recession but a depression. We are facing four to five years of recessionary times and that is good for [Ryanair] as everybody will be trading down.”
The Irish entrepreneur also said he could launch a low-cost transatlantic service within the next two years if the wave of bankruptcies meant he could cheaply acquire a fleet of long-haul aircraft.
The budget airline’s chief executive said: “The only time to set up an airline is when they are parking planes in the desert. And we are not very far from that at the moment,” he said. “We would launch the service through a sister company rather than Ryan itself.”