Friday 24 May 2019

Ryanair to cancel up to 30 flights on Thursday due to pilot strike

  • The airline has said that only UK flights will be affected by the stoppage
  • All Ireland to Europe flights will run as normal
A Ryanair jet lands at Dublin Airport (Niall Carson/PA)
A Ryanair jet lands at Dublin Airport (Niall Carson/PA)

Anne Marie Walsh

RYANAIR will cancel 30 of its 290 Irish flights during a 24-hour strike by pilots this Thursday.

In a customer update, it said it could not rule out further disruption this month or next and apologised to Irish customers for “these regrettable disruptions”.

It said it did its utmost to avoid the industrial action over pilots’ demand for a ‘seniority list’ to decide who gets holidays, promotions and transfers.

“We  regrettably must plan for some disruptions on Thursday, and try to minimise their impact, especially upon Irish customers and their families travelling on holidays to Portugal, France, Spain, Italy and Greece,” said the airline.

It said it is cancelling some flights on high frequency routes from Ireland to London and other destinations in the UK.

It said these were routes on which customers could transfer “readily” to other flights on the day of the strike. They could otherwise switch to earlier flights tomorrow, or later on Friday, Saturday or beyond.

“We have this morning planned to cancel up to 30 of our 290 flights to and from Irish airports on Thursday 12,” it said.

All customers on these flights received text and email notification of the cancellations today.

The airline said customer service teams are helping them with refunds and transfers to alternative flights.

It said it would also help customers travelling to the UK with alternative flights and ferries.

The airline said customers who are travelling to or from Ireland on a Ryanair flight on Thursday who have not received notification that their flight has been cancelled can expect it to go ahead.

They should check in as normal at their departure airport.

Ryanair is due to enter talks with the Irish Airline Pilots Association at Dublin Airport tomorrow. However, its parent union Fórsa has said the strike is still likely to go ahead.

The airline said it sent proposals to Fórsa on seniority, annual leave and base transfers “which are what Fórsa claims are the reasons for this strike”.

“Ryanair pilots have already secured a 20pc pay increase, earn up to €200,000 per year, work five days-on followed by four days-off, enjoy rapid promotions and unmatched job security,” it said.

“In a final effort to avert this strike, we have agreed to meet our pilots and Fórsa at a neutral venue kindly provided by Dublin Airport, but we believe this small group of pilots and Fórsa are determined to disrupt the travel of Irish customers on July 12.”

The airline blamed some Aer Lingus pilots whose airline would benefit from the disruption for organising the strike.

“These coordinated strike threats are designed to cause unnecessary disruption to customers and damage Ryanair’s low fare model, for the benefit of high fare competitor airlines in Ireland and Germany,” it said.

Ialpa said that seniority lists that ensure pilots with longer service get first call on a variety of perks are the norm at other airlines.

It claimed the airline has not made an offer that could form the basis of a settlement.

The European Cockpit Association has said it is impossible to “exclude strikes in the future” at Ryanair unless it offers all its contractor and self-employed pilots direct employment contracts under local law.

It said the budget airline should welcome all its pilots at the table when meeting unions, rather than excluding contractor or self-employed ones.

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Transport, Tourism and Sport, Robert Troy, said the industrial action should be deferred while talks are underway.

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