Hundreds of Ryanair flights cancelled over European strikes


Hundreds of Ryanair flights cancelled over European strikes

Kenny Jacobs Ryanair’s chief marketing officer at a news conference in Germany yesterday

Kenny Jacobs Ryanair’s chief marketing officer at a news conference in Germany yesterday

Ryanair pilots in several European countries are staging a strike that has prompted the budget carrier to cancel 400 flights.

In the Netherlands, Ryanair filed for an urgent court order to try to prevent Dutch pilots from joining the industrial action.

Ryanair passengers sit on the floor at an airport in Berlin on Friday after their Ryanair flight was canceled due to a pilots strike.

That was because the strikes were hurting bookings, Ryanair said, and although it was too early to assess the impact elsewhere, it added that the action will hit average fares from having to move customers to flights it could otherwise have sold at a high last-minute price.

Ryanair customers face mass travel disruptions as pilots across Europe begin a coordinated 24-hour strike to push their demands for better pay and conditions at the peak of the busy summer season.

It already suffered a round of strikes by cockpit and cabin crew last month that disrupted 600 flights in Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain, affecting 100,000 travellers.

The airline said that over 2,000 flights, or 85 percent of the schedule, would operate as normal and that the majority of passengers affected have been re-booked on other Ryanair services.

Since the it first recognised unions in December 2017, walkouts have been staged multiple times by Ryanair staff in various countries.

Since then, however, it has struggled to reach agreements.

Customers have been notified and a majority of those affected moved to another Ryanair flight, the company said.

The company is eyeing profits of around €1.25billion (£1.12billion) this year, and boasts lower costs per passenger than its competitors.

Ryanair says it has made every effort to resolve the dispute.

The unions want the contracts of Ryanair employees to be governed by the laws of the nation where they are based, not by Irish legislation.

Staff claim this creates huge insecurity for them, blocking their access to state benefits in their country.

Ryanair announced in July that it would slash its fleet in Dublin by 20% this winter because of rolling strikes by pilots in Ireland.

Ryanair has described the German strike as "unjustified".

But its combative chief executive Michael O'Leary has also warned the airline may shift jobs and planes to more profitable areas if the turmoil continues.

Peter Scherrer, deputy secretary general of the European Trade Union Confederation, said he welcomed today's cross-border show of unity by pilots. And it has responded to worker demands with its characteristically pugnacious approach.

It also called on the striking unions to return to negotiations rather than "calling any more unjustified strikes".