IRISH airline Ryanair has revealed it is to cancel up to 30 flights between Ireland and Britain this Thursday as a result of a strike by Irish pilots.
The airline said that of its 290 Irish flights on July 12, it was choosing the high-frequency routes between Ireland and Britain to minimise the impact on families holidaying in mainland Europe.
It added that it is assisting affected customers with refunds or alternative travel plans.
“We regrettably must plan for some disruptions on Thursday, and try to minimise their impact, especially upon Irish customers and their families travelling on holidays to Portugal, France, Spain, Italy and Greece,” Ryanair said in a statement.
“We will do this by cancelling a number of flights on high frequency routes from Ireland to London and other UK Province destinations where customers can transfer readily to other flights on Thursday or switch their travel to earlier flights tomorrow (Wednesday) or later on Friday, Saturday or subsequent days.”
It added: “For customers travelling to the UK we will also be assisting them with alternative transport on comparable operators (both flights & ferries) where there is some limited space available.”
Affected customers have been notified by the airline via text and email. Customers due to fly on Thursday who have not been notified should expect to travel as normal.
Last week pilots from the Irish Airline Pilots Association (IALPA), a branch of Fórsa trade union, voted in favour of industrial action in a dispute over what it claimed was management’s approach to transferring pilots between its European and African bases.
Further strike action
Ryanair said it has tried to avert disruption by sending Fórsa written proposals on seniority, annual leave and base transfers, “yet Fórsa has rejected 21 separate invitations to meet Ryanair to negotiate these documents”.
The two sides are due to meet tomorrow but Fórsa says it expects the strike to go ahead.
Ryanair added that further industrial action is a possibility and accused pilots from rival airlines of encouraging the strikes.
“It is unacceptable that competitor airline pilots are actively organising strikes by Ryanair’s pilots when these airlines will be the direct beneficiaries of any such disruption,” it said.
It added: “These coordinated strike threats are designed to cause unnecessary disruption to customers and damage Ryanair’s low-fare model, for the benefit of high-fare competitor airlines in Ireland and Germany.”