UK-based Ryanair pilots are set to stage a series of 24-hour stoppages between 18 and 29 September, which could affect traveller hoping to benefit from the post-Summer Holidays window.
There will be a 48-hour walkout on 18 and 19 September, as well as 24-hour stoppages on 21, 23, 25, 27 and 29 September.
Though the strikes are expected to go ahead, 95% of Ryanair’s UK pilots “have confirmed that they will work their rosters”, according to the airline.
Therefore, “Ryanair expects all its flights to/from UK airports on Weds 18th & Thurs 19th to operate as scheduled.”
The budget airline was recently hit by similar industrial action when pilots staged strikes between 2 and 4 September, but was able to operate all of its scheduled UK flights by bringing in more contractors and moving its pilots from around Europe.
22 August also saw a 48 hour strike, though travellers were met with minimal disruption after the “volunteerism of the vast majority of our UK based pilots” meant passengers could “expect their scheduled Ryanair flight to depart on time.”
In a statement Balpa said: “Decades of Ryanair refusing to deal with unions has resulted in two things.
“Firstly, a management that apparently doesn’t understand how to work with unions, and secondly a company that doesn’t have a number of standard agreements that any union would reasonably expect in any workplace.”
Discussions with Ryanair management over pensions, loss of licence insurance, maternity benefits, allowances and “a fair, transparent, and consistent pay structure” had made no progress, said Balpa.
Brian Strutton, Balpa General Secretary, said “We have had no formal offer from Ryanair and it is imperative that we resolve this dispute urgently to avoid strike action.
“Pilots in Ryanair are seeking the same kind of policies and agreements that exist in other airlines – our demands are not unreasonable.
“No pilot wants to spoil the public’s travel plans but at the moment it seems we have no choice.”
He added: “While this action has considerably disrupted Ryanair, forcing them to engage contractors and bring in foreign crews to run its operation, it has had limited impact on the public’s travel plans.
“Ryanair should stop dragging its feet and get back to the negotiating table.”
Ryanair had previously said that Balpa have “no mandate” to disrupt customers’ holidays and flights, “particularly at a time when UK pilots are facing job losses due to the Boeing MAX delivery delays, and the threat of a no deal Brexit on 31 Oct.”
The airline added last year its UK pilots agreed a 20 per cent salary increase, with senior captains earning up to £180,000 p.a.
Balpa invited Ryanair to fresh talks earlier in the summer, but the airline instead chose to take the legal route, challenging the legitimacy of the strike in the High Court, a challenge which it lost.
Flights could be affected on 18 and 19 September, as well as 21, 23, 25, 27 and 29 September. However, Ryanair insisted that there will be minimal disruption to its services when faced with previous strikes.
In a message to customers, Ryanair said that flights to and from UK airports “will operate as scheduled thanks to the efforts of over 95% of our UK pilots who have confirmed that they will work their rosters, and will not support this failed Balpa strike action.”
The company added: “We do not expect any pilot strike disruptions to our schedule.”
If your flight is cancelled, you usually have a legal right to either a full refund within seven days or a replacement flight.
However, if the flight was cancelled due to reasons beyond the airline’s control such as an act of terrorism, a volcanic eruption, extreme weather or a strike, the airline is not obliged to compensate you.
So in the event of industrial action, it’s at the airline’s discretion whether to compensate you.
You’re advised to check all your travel arrangements ahead of your trip, to ensure you have as smooth a journey as possible. Ryanair’s pilot walkouts won’t be the only thing worrying those who’ve booked their travels.
British Airways pilots will walk after 93 per cent of members of Balpa voted in favour of industrial action, and the dates come after the end of the summer break: pilots will be walking out on Friday 27 September.
While there had been fears of a strike from EasyJet staff at Stansted Airport, Stobart Aviation Services – the provider of logistical requirements for airports – has confirmed that it has reached a pay agreement with its front of house employees based at London Stansted Airport.