Ryanair faces possible disruption in Belgium as crews threaten to strike

Negotiations about new collective agreement for cabin crew failed to produce deal

Ryanair faces possible disruption in Belgium this weekend as crew there are threatening to strike.

The Irish airline had been in talks with trade unions representing cabin crew about a new collective agreement, but the negotiations failed to produce a deal.

Trade unions ACV Puls and CNE subsequently said that staff based at Charleroi and Brussels Zaventem airports in Belgium would begin a three-day strike on Friday, April 22nd.

According to reports, both unions said that a final attempt at mediation between workers and the airline last week failed, raising the prospect of a strike this weekend.


A collective agreement governing cabin crews pay and conditions between Ryanair and the unions that dated back to 2019 expired at the end of March.

The unions served “indefinite strike notice” on Ryanair at the beginning of this month, ahead of efforts to mediate the dispute.

CNE and ACV subsequently confirmed plans for a three-day stoppage beginning on Friday and running through Sunday April 24th.

Ryanair employs around 600 workers in Belgium, around 450 of whom are cabin crew.

Reports on Wednesday said that separate talks are under way between the airline and pilots based at Belgian airports.

The strike threat is the first major industrial relations disruption faced by Ryanair since air travel began recovering from the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on travel.

The airline is likely to announce losses of between €350 million and €400 million when it reports results for the 12 months ended March 31st, its last financial year, in May.

However, its chief executive Michael O’Leary recently predicted that Ryanair could fly 165 million passengers and earn more than €1 billion profits in its current financial year.

Fuel deal

Meanwhile, Ryanair says a deal with fuel supplier Neste will cut greenhouse gas emissions from some of its Amsterdam flights by more than 60 per cent.

The Irish airline will power a third of its flights from Schiphol Airport with a 40 per cent blend of Finland-based Neste’s sustainable aviation fuel. Ryanair calculates that the move will cut greenhouse gas emissions from the flights involved by more than 60 per cent.

The move follows last year's pledge to back the Ryanair Sustainable Aviation Research Centre in Trinity College Dublin.

Ryanair's director of sustainability, Thomas Fowler, said the use of sustainable aviation fuel – an alternative to the kerosene used in jets – was a cornerstone of the airline's plan to reach net zero carbon by 2050.

“We look forward to growing our partnership with Neste as we work toward achieving our goal of operating 12.5 per cent of Ryanair flights with sustainable aviation fuel by 2030,” he added.

Jonathan Wood, Neste's vice-president Europe, noted that the European Union planned to promote sustainable aviation fuels' use. He added that Ryanair was the first short-haul airline to begin using its sustainable aviation fuel at Amsterdam.

Neste has a sustainable fuel production plant at Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

The company aims to produce 1.5 million tonnes of sustainable aviation fuel by the end of next year. It is building a further production facility in Singapore.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas