AIR TRAVEL

Ryanair threatens fleet reductions and layoffs if strikes persist

Airline has cancelled 400 flights in Spain as cabin crew plan walkouts on Wednesday and Thursday

A Ryanair counter at Madrid Barajas airport.
A Ryanair counter at Madrid Barajas airport.Víctor Sainz

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Ryanair is threatening fleet reductions and layoffs if its labor disputes with pilots and cabin crew continue. Stoppages are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday in Spain, Portugal and Belgium, and the Irish low-cost carrier said it is expecting further industrial action this summer despite its recent concessions.

“We expect further strikes over the peak summer period as we are not prepared to concede to unreasonable demands that will compromise either our low fares or our highly efficient model,” said the company in its quarterly earnings statement.

Ryanair’s quarterly profit dropped 20% over the previous year

“If these unnecessary strikes continue to damage customer confidence and [prices] in certain country markets then we will have to review our winter schedule, which may lead to fleet reductions at disrupted bases and job losses,” said Europe’s biggest budget airline.

The company noted that it has already recognized pilot and cabin crew unions in its main markets (Britain, Italy and Germany), but said that “progress has been slower in smaller markets where competitor pilots are impeding both progress and process.”

Ryanair cabin crew staff in Spain will strike on July 25 and 26 to demand better working conditions. The company has cancelled 400 flights to and from Spain, affecting an estimated 75,000 passengers. The airline says it has reaccommodated 85% of affected customers.

Drop in profits

Ryanair’s quarterly profit dropped 20% over the previous year due to higher fuel and staff costs as well as strike action, said the company on Monday.

Sales at Ryanair increased 9% to €2.1 billion over the three-month period, but profits fell 20% to €319 million.

Besides the higher fuel costs and rising wages, the airline cancelled 2,500 flights due to staff shortages and strikes.

English version by Susana Urra.

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