Ryanair cancels more flights than planned as strikes spread

Michael O’Leary has insisted disputes with staff have caused ‘minimal disruption’

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary

 

Ryanair cancelled more flights than the 190 originally planned in Europe on Friday as German pilots joined cabin crew strikes in six countries.

Crew in Belgium, Germany, Portugal, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain held one-day strikes on Friday in the latest round of industrial action at the Irish carrier.

German pilots’ union Vereinegung Cockpit (VC) joined the strikes, serving notice the day before and forcing Ryanair to increase planned cancellations to 250 from the 190 that it announced earlier in the week.

Ryanair calculated that the 190 cancellations would affect about 30,000 passengers, whom the airline said it refunded or reaccommodated.

Some reports suggested that Ryanair cancelled more than 250 services on Friday. Flightglobal, a US-based aviation news and information publication, produced figures showing that the total number was 337.

However, Ryanair dismissed this as “incorrect”, and maintained that the total was 250, including the extra cancellations announced as a result of the VC stoppage.

The company said that despite the “regrettable and unjustifiable” strikes in six of the 37 countries where it has bases, all 400 of its first wave of flights took off as scheduled.

In a statement Ryanair added that more than 2,150 flights – 90 per cent of its schedule – carrying 400,000 customers operated normally.

“Ryanair took every step to minimise the disruption and we notified our customers as early as possible advising them of their free move, refund or reroute options,” the airline said.

Friday’s industrial action followed strikes by pilots based in the Republic and other European countries over the summer.

Progress

Speaking after Ryanair’s annual shareholder meeting last week, chief executive Michael O’Leary claimed strikes had a minimal impact on operations.

The company insists it has made significant progress with unions, agreeing a deal with the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association, as well as agreements with staff in Italy and Germany and the UK.

“These strikes show that, despite its recent rhetoric, Ryanair has a long way to go before it enjoys sustainable industrial relations,” Gabriel Mocho Rodriguez, civil aviation secretary at the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), said in a statement.

In a joint statement, the ITF and another union umbrella body, the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF), said that Ryanair’s failure to improve pay and conditions for its staff provoked Friday’s strikes.

– Additional reporting Reuters