Ryanair’s attempts to legally block strikes scheduled to start on Thursday by some of its Ireland and UK-based pilots and cabin crew in Portugal proved successful only in its home country, yet the airline managed to fly a full schedule and prevent disruption to its operations in the midst of the busy summer schedule. “All flights are operating as scheduled,” a Ryanair spokesperson confirmed by email to AIN.
“There is no strike action in Ireland,” she said. The airline operates flights from three Irish airports—Dublin, Cork, and Shannon.
The first wave of flights to and from UK airports and to and from Portugal departed as scheduled this morning, with an average punctuality of 97 percent, the low-cost carrier said, attributing the 3 percent of delayed flights to air traffic control. It added it does not expect “any disruptions” to its UK and Portugal schedule on Thursday, and said it thanked all its UK pilots and Portuguese cabin crew “who have chosen to work to protect the flights and travel plans of our customers and their families.”
Directly employed Ryanair pilots based in Ireland and represented by the Irish Airline Pilots Association (IALPA) had planned to strike for 48 hours from 12:01 a.m. local time on Thursday, but the high court in Dublin yesterday did not permit the industrial action because the union launched the strikes while the mediation process continued. Ryanair welcomed the court’s ruling and called on IALPA’s parent union, Fórsa, and “this small group of Irish pilots [to] now explain why, when Fórsa have agreed to pay increases for Aer Lingus pilots of 9 percent over three years [an average of 3 percent per annum], they are seeking 101 percent increases for Ryanair captains who already earn over €172,000 per annum.”
Ryanair failed to obtain a similar injunction in the high court in London to stop its UK pilots represented by the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) from taking strike action as planned Thursday and Friday as well as from September 2 to September 4. “We hope this walk-out will signal the resolve of our members,” BALPA general secretary Brian Strutton warned. “Ryanair needs to wake up to the reality that its pilots are determined to seek change. They need to put a serious offer on the table so that this industrial action, brought about by the company’s flat refusal to even look at the needs of its workforce and passengers, can be brought to an end.” BALPA did not provide figures on how many of its Ryanair members downed tools today.
Ryanair cabin crew and some ground staff represented by the SNPVAC trade union in Portugal began a five-day walkout on Wednesday in a dispute over pay and conditions, though while not outright prohibiting the strike, the Portuguese government intervened and decreed minimum services to be provided, Portugal’s Lusa news agency reported. Cabin crew are required to ensure services on key international and domestic routes—including a daily return flight between Lisbon and Paris, Berlin, London, Ponta Delgada, and Terceira Lajes as well as between Porto and Cologne. Secretary of state infrastructure and communications Alberto Souto de Miranda and his counterpart for employment, Miguel Cabrita, justified the decree on grounds of the length of the strike, high demand for air travel in August, and ensuring safety by avoiding overcrowding of airports in the summer months.