Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary reacts during a media conference in Dublin, Ireland, to give explain reasons for disruption to their flight schedules, Monday Sept. 18, 2017. Irish budget airline Ryanair is believed to be cancelling up to 50 flights every day over the next six weeks because it "messed up" its pilots' holiday schedules. (Niall Carson/PA via AP)

INTERNATIONAL - Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary was expected to face shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting yesterday amid a pilot shortage that has forced the budget airline to cancel hundreds of flights. 

Flight captains and first officers have rejected Ryanair’s offer of bonus payments in exchange for making commitments to the airline. The airline says it will cancel as many as 50 flights a day for six weeks because it “messed up” when scheduling crew holidays. 

The Irish Air Line Pilots Association said 140 Ryanair pilots left for Norwegian Air in recent months. 

Compensation for passengers forced to re-book could reach 20million (R318m). Passengers battling to get compensation have inundated the firm’s Facebook page with their complaints.