Markets

Travel misery for 50,000 as Ryanair cancels hundreds of flights

Travel misery for 50,000 as Ryanair cancels hundreds of flights

Hundreds of flights operated by the Irish low-priced airline will not take off as planned today (Friday, August 10) due to pilot strikes in five countries.

It said in a statement that the action was "unjustified" and "regrettable", but said that 85 percent of its flights would still be operated, and said that it had done all that it could to prevent the dispute escalating into industrial action, adding that the "majority of customers affected have already been re-accommodated on another Ryanair flight".

A spokesperson said: "Ryanair fully complies with all EU261 legislation, however as these flight cancellations were caused by extraordinary circumstances, no compensation is due".

The country's powerful Cockpit union said it had called on Ryanair's roughly 480 Germany-based pilots to walk out from 3.01am (2.01am Irish time) until 2.59am (1.59am Irish time) on Saturday.

"They tweeted: "£ryanair cancelled my flight in the last min because of pilots strike.

A judge later ruled that Dutch pilots could join the strike.

Ryanair, which averted widespread strikes before Christmas by agreeing to recognise unions for the first time in its 30-year history, has been unable to quell rising protests since over slow progress in negotiating collective labour agreements.

But Ryanair pilots say they earn less than counterparts at other airlines like Lufthansa.




Which flights are affected by the Ryanair strike?

The action is the largest in a series of strikes over pay and conditions.

"Ryanair is the only multinational in Belgium that doesn't respect the Belgian law and that's not normal", said Didier Lebbe, a representative of union ACV-CSC, whose demands include securing its pilots pay when they are on stand-by.

But chief executive Michael O'Leary has also warned the airline may shift jobs and planes to more profitable areas if the turmoil continues.

About 300 Ryanair flights were cancelled in July when cabin crews in Belgium, Portugal and Spain went on strike for 48 hours.

Among other issues, they are also seeking changes to Ryanair's practice of moving staff to different bases without much notice, and a reduction in hours.

"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.