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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 October 2018

Ryanair cancels 150 flights over cabin crew strike

Industrial action across Europe on Friday will affect 25,000 passengers

Strikes and higher fuel costs have hit Ryanair's earnings. Reuters
Strikes and higher fuel costs have hit Ryanair's earnings. Reuters

A fresh strike by Ryanair’s cabin crew is set to cause travel disruption for European passengers this week as the embattled budget airline cancelled 150 flights scheduled for Friday.

The co-ordinated industrial action in Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal, Italy and Germany will affect 25,000 Ryanair passengers.

The Irish airline had originally said 190 flights would be cancelled on Tuesday, but on Wednesday revised this figure down to 150, adding that over 90 per cent of flights would be unaffected by “these unnecessary strikes”.

“We were expecting more cancellations but our crews have confirmed that more flights than originally planned will operate, so we’re now expecting just 150 of 2,400 flights to be affected,” a spokesperson for Ryanair said.

Kenny Jacobs, Ryanair’s chief marketing officer, said the company had made significant progress with trade unions representing staff in the five countries to avoid future disruption.

"We hope these unions will see common sense and work with us to finalise agreements for the benefit of our pilots and cabin crew over the coming weeks without further disrupting our customers or our flights," Mr Jacobs said in a statement.

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Read more:

Ryanair reaches agreement with Irish pilots in trade dispute

Ryanair's woes grow with pilots in Germany joining strike

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Although pay is at issue, unions in countries outside of Ireland are unhappy that their workers are being employed under Irish legislation and are being paid into Irish bank accounts.

“We all want Ryanair’s success, but not at any cost, and certainly not at the expense of the most basic workers’ rights,” eight unions involved in the industrial action said in a joint statement.

Ryanair said it will move to local contracts local law and local taxation from 2019 but under certain conditions.

Friday’s 24-hour strike is the latest in a series of industrial disputes the airline has had with its cabin crew in a year.

In July the airline cancelled 300 flights after a 48-hour strike involving cabin crew in Belgium, Portugal and Spain, while 400 were cancelled in August following a 24-hour walk out by staff in Germany, Sweden, Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Further disruption was caused in 2017 when issues with pilot scheduling led to the cancellation of hundreds of flights.

On the same day the strikes were announced Ryanair’s outspoken CEO Michael O’Leary was quoted as saying that pilotless planes could be a reality in 40 to 50 years.

In an interview with Business Insider published on Tuesday, Mr O’Leary said soon aircrafts would be operated by a “single pilot in the cockpit” adding that the technology was already available.

"It wouldn't surprise me to see 'pilot-less' planes soon," he told the publication. "It will probably happen in the next 40 to 50 years — perhaps we'll all be flying 'passenger drones'!"