Ryanair tells staff it has 900 more pilots and crew than needed

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DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ryanair RYA.I has 500 more pilots and 400 more cabin crew than needed, and job losses will be announced in the coming weeks, Chief Executive Michael O'Leary told staff in a video message

The comments come less than two years after Europe’s biggest budget airline was forced to cancel hundreds of flights, due in part to a shortage of pilots.

However, the Irish company had flagged job losses on Monday when it reported a sharp fall in profits, and said earlier this month it was halving growth plans for next year due to delays in deliveries of Boeing's BA.N grounded 737 MAX jet.

“We hope to preserve as many jobs as we can, but we have to respond now and we have to respond quickly to the MAX aircraft delivery delays and to the threat of a no-deal Brexit at the end of October,” O’Leary said in the video posted after Monday’s results.

He added job cuts would take place at around the end of September and again after Christmas.

Ryanair pilots in Britain and Ireland are holding a ballot over potential industrial action and some union officials, who declined to be identified, said O’Leary was trying to deter them from voting to strike.

They said a hiring agency that worked with Ryanair was still advertising for flight staff and earlier this month the airline had launched a new pilot training program in central Europe.

Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Mark Potter