The cancellation crisis at Ryanair is believed to be on the agenda of a meeting of the European Cockpit Association, which represents 38,000 pilots across Europe.

The meeting was scheduled some time ago and was expected to discuss the difficulties at Alitalia and Air Berlin.

However, it is understood that Ryanair is now on the agenda amid reports that pilots in European countries where the airline has bases are signing up to local pilot unions.

Earlier, in a statement, the association said the Ryanair cancellation "debacle" had exposed what it called structural deficiencies in its business and employment model, and a deep disconnect between Ryanair management and its pilots.

The ECA also called on Ryanair's institutional investors to push for structural change and social dialogue at the airline.

Meanwhile, Ryanair’s rival Norwegian Air has held a recruitment open day in a bid to entice pilots to join their new operation.

Norwegian has already confirmed that it has attracted 140 pilots from Ryanair, although Ryanair insists the figure is below 100.

Pilot shortages are believed to have contributed to the current cancellations crisis which has seen Ryanair forced to cancel more than 2000 flights over the next six weeks.

According to a spokesman for Norwegian Air, the company is to open a new Dublin base later this year, initially with positions for 40 pilots but with plans to increase this with further new positions next summer.