A fourth one-day pilots' strike at Ryanair next week will hit 3,500 of the airline's passengers, the company has confirmed.
Around 100 members of the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (Ialpa) – part of trade union Fórsa – plan to stage their fourth strike at the airline on Friday August 3rd, in a dispute over base transfers, promotions, leave and other issues.
Ryanair said on Thursday that it has cancelled 20 of 300 flights scheduled for that date as a result of the strike.
The airline added that it had contacted the 3,500 passengers affected to offer them re-accommodation on other flights, or refunds. The cancelled services will be between the Republic and the UK.
Ryanair's announcement came as the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, appealed to the airline and Ialpa/Fórsa to restart talks and end the dispute, which is entering its third week.
He said they should think about the impact on passengers who ultimately pay the wages of pilots, cabin crew and management, as well as shareholders’ dividends.
Mr Varadkar said it was ultimately a commercial decision “for any business as to how many flights they’re going to run or how many staff they need to staff those planes”.
“I am very concerned at the escalation in the Ryanair dispute, particularly the impact it’s going to have on holidaymakers – on everyday people who have spent months saving up for their holidays,” he said.
The airline maintains that it has avoided cancelling flights to popular holiday destinations during the dispute.
Ryanair said this week that the strikes’ impact on Irish bookings and fares was one of the reasons its board approved a reduction in its Dublin fleet to 24 from 30 next winter, with the potential loss of 300 jobs.
Meanwhile, the International Transport Workers' Federation said that strikes by Ryanair cabin crew in Belgium, Portugal and Spain over the last two days may have caused the cancellation of 20 per cent of the airline's flights across its network.
However, the airline has said that the cabin crew strikes would affect about 12 per cent of its flights.