Easyjet's new chief executive Johan Lundgren has offered to reduce his salary to match what his predecessor, Carolyn McCall, was on.
His starting salary was £740,000, and that is now being cut to match the £706,000 earned by McCall, who has since become ITV's chief executive. In all other aspects, such as bonuses, Lundgren's pay package is identical to McCall's, the airline said.
City A.M. understands the original salary and package offered to Lundgren was viewed as the right amount to secure his appointment, reflecting his experience and previous salary. Lundgren joined Easyjet after serving at Tui, where he was deputy chief executive.
In a statement today, he said:
At Easyjet we are absolutely committed to giving equal pay and equal opportunity for women and men. I want that to apply to everybody at Easyjet and to show my personal commitment I have asked the board to reduce my pay to match that of Carolyn's when she was at Easyjet.
Lundgren added: "I also want to affirm my own commitment to address the gender imbalance in our pilot community which drives our overall gender pay gap. Easyjet has already gone further than other airlines in trying to attract more women into a career as a pilot. I want us not just to hit our target that 20 per cent of our new pilots should be female by 2020 but to go further than this in the future."
In November, Easyjet said the gap between what male and female colleagues earn at the carrier, based on median hourly rates, was 45.5 per cent, and 51.7 per cent based on mean hourly rates.
By April, all UK firms and public sector organisations with 250 or more employees have to report what they pay their male and female staff.
Easyjet has cited the make-up of its pilot community as the key reason for the disparity. The airline says that as with all carriers, pilots account for a large proportion of its employees, and 94 per cent of them are male.
The airline has launched the Amy Johnson Initiative to encourage more women to enter the pilot profession, and has set a target to have 20 per cent of new pilots female by 2020, up from six per cent in 2015.