Ryanair pilot strikes see hundreds of flights cancelled

Staff in Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Belgium and Netherlands holding 24-hour walkout

The German pilots will join their Irish, Belgian, Swedish and possibly Dutch colleagues on the picket line as the airline continues to fight union demands. Video: Reuters


Hundreds of Ryanair flights will not take off as planned on Friday due to pilot strikes in five countries.

Staff in Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Belgium and the Netherlands are holding a 24-hour walkout over pay and conditions.

About 396 flights have been cancelled as a result, forcing passengers who planned on travelling on Friday to rebook or take different routes.

The Irish airline said the strikes were “regrettable and unjustified” and called for unions to come back to the negotiating table.

Despite the walkouts, Ryanair said more than 2,000 of its flights, 85 per cent of its schedule, would operate as normal, carrying almost 400,000 passengers.

“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 carrier said.

“The majority of customers have already been accommodated on another Ryanair flight.

“We want to again apologise to customers affected by this unnecessary disruption and we ask the striking unions to continue negotiations instead of calling anymore unjustified strikes.”

Around 100 of Ryanair’s Irish pilots will stage their fifth one-day strike on Friday in a dispute over base transfers, promotions, leave and other issues tied to seniority.

The Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (Ialpa) – part of trade union Fórsa – has accepted former Workplace Relations Commission chairman Kieran Mulvey as an independent mediator in its dispute with Ryanair. Those talks could start next week.

Ryanair cancelled 20 of Friday’s scheduled 300 Irish flights ahead of the strike, but says that it has re-accommodated or refunded the 3,500 passengers affected.