Ryanair Pilots Announce Holiday Strikes

Ryanair pilots have threatened to go on strike in several European countries before the end of 2017 and possibly in early 2018. Ryanair pilots based at Cork (ORK), Dublin (DUB) and Shannon (SNN) airports in Ireland plan to hold a 24-hour strike on Dec. 20. The airline has claimed that the work stoppage would only affect 28 percent of its Ireland-based pilots, but the Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association (IALPA) claims that up to 117 pilots – most of whom are captains – will participate, and that the strike will either cause significant flight disruptions or force Ryanair to redeploy staff from its other bases.

Ryanair pilots have indicated that they intend to participate in a nationwide transport strike in Italy from 1300-1700 Dec. 15. This walkout – if it occurs – will be the first by Ryanair pilots since the low-cost carrier was founded in 1984. On Dec. 12, Germany’s Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) warned that Ryanair pilots would go on strike in the near future unless the airline agreed to a collective bargaining agreement. The VC has stated that the work stoppage would not take place over the Dec. 23-26 Christmas holiday; the union has typically provided 24 hours notice before strikes. Ryanair pilots based in Portugal and Sweden are also reportedly threatening to walk off the job, but no timelines have been announced yet.

Although prolonged strikes are currently not anticipated, the labor upheaval will contribute to more service disruptions while Ryanair continues to grapple with a shortage of standby pilots that has forced the carrier to cancel more than 20,000 flights between September 2017 and March 2018. Ryanair has downplayed the potential effects of the possible and planned strikes, though it has conceded that “disruptions may occur.”

Ryanair does not recognize unions, and its management has indicated that it will not negotiate with pilots unofficially affiliated with organized labor groups, paving the way for possible additional work stoppages.

Confirm Ryanair flights before departing for the airport. Consider booking flights with other carriers for time-sensitive travel to destinations that could be affected by work stoppages through January 2018.


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