Ryanair strike hits 55,000 customers across Europe

Roman Schwartz
August 10, 2018

Ryanair customers face mass travel disruptions as pilots across Europe begin a coordinated 24-hour strike to push their demands for better pay and conditions at the peak of the busy summer season.

Nearly 400 flights have been grounded across Europe, with that figure set to rise sharply with pilots in the Netherlands deciding to join the walkout yesterday.

This is not the first Ryanair strike in recent months; in July, cabin staff in Spain, Italy, Portugal and Belgium walked out for similar reasons, causing 600 flights to be cancelled.

The Ireland-based budget airline said the industrial action was "regrettable and unjustified" and called for unions to return to the negotiating table.

About 50,000 passengers are understood to have been told of cancellations on these flights - as reported by AP.

Irish pilots have held four strike days. "It is annoying that it's happening in the holidays but that is the only means they have", said one man at an airport in Berlin.

As many as 250 flights across Germany have been hit, with the airline having earlier this week announced an additional 146 cancelled across Ireland, Belgium and Sweden.

Aircrafts of low-priced airliner Ryanair are parked at the tarmac of Weeze airport near the German-Dutch border during a wider European strike of Ryanair airline crews to protest slow progress in negotiating a collective labour agreement at Weeze airport, Germany, August 10, 2018.

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The company says 85% of its scheduled flights will operate as normal on Saturday and the majority of customers affected have been given places on other Ryanair flights.

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".

Ryanair planes have a capacity of 189, meaning more than 74,000 passengers could be affected.

It has already threatened to move part of its Dublin fleet to Poland, which could cost 300 jobs, including 100 pilot positions.

'The majority of customers have already been accommodated on another Ryanair flight.

The European Trade Union Confederation welcomed the cross-border action by the pilots, saying it made it harder for management to ignore the pilots' demands.

"We want to apologise to customers affected by this unnecessary disruption and we ask the striking unions to continue negotiations instead of calling anymore unjustified strikes [sic]".

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