Economy

Ryanair strike: 400 flights cancelled in pilot walkout

Ryanair strike: 400 flights cancelled in pilot walkout

Germany will be the country most affected by the strike with 250 flight cancellations across ten airports. They would have the option of a refund, rebooking on the next flight or rerouting.

The airline said that over 2,000 flights, or 85 percent of the schedule, would operate as normal and that the majority of passengers affected have been re-booked on other Ryanair services.

A Dutch court also rejected a case from Ryanair seeking to block pilots in the Netherlands from joining Friday's strike, but the Irish airline said all of its flights there would run as scheduled.

"We expect the company to lower profit guidance for FY19 as it lowers capacity, on both strike disruption and crew shortages, and see weaker unit revenue trends as strike-affected traffic is redeployed on to operating flights and as passengers book away from what is now a less reliable travel option than usual", HSBC analyst Andrew Lobbenberg said.

Belgium-based Ryanair pilots gather at Charleroi Airport as part of a European-wide strike.

The trade union Cockpit said 480 Germany-based pilots were not expected to return to work until 2.59 a.m. Saturday.

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.

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Ryanair operates more than 2,000 flights a day, serving 223 airports across 37 countries in Europe and North Africa, and insists it will not change the low-priced model that transformed the industry and has made it Europe's most profitable airline. Irish pilots recently staged four one-day walkouts, while cabin crew in Spain, Belgium, Italy and Portugal went on strike on July 25 and 26. But since then it has struggled to reach agreements.

Staff claim this creates huge insecurity for them, blocking their access to state benefits in their country.

At a Frankfurt press conference on Wednesday, Ryanair's chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said the company's German pilots enjoy "excellent working conditions".

Ryanair has repeatedly said it remained open to further talks with pilot representatives.

A statement from CEO Michael O'Leary said: "Ryanair fully complies with all EU261 legislation, however as these flight cancellations were caused by extraordinary circumstances, no compensation is due".

Peter Scherrer, deputy secretary general of the European Trade Union Confederation, said he welcomed today's cross-border show of unity by pilots because it made it harder for management to ignore their demands.