Ryanair pilots’ strike hits thousands of passengers between UK and Ireland as flights cancelled

Simon Calder

More than 5,000 Ryanair passengers have had their flights to and from Dublin cancelled by a pilots’ strike on Thursday 12 July.

The airline, which is the biggest budget carrier in Europe, grounded 30 flights between the UK and the Irish capital.

Six flights to and from Gatwick were cancelled, along with four linking Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle with Dublin. Round trips to Stansted and Glasgow were also grounded.

Members of the Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association (IALPA) directly employed by Ryanair are in dispute about arrangements for transferring flight crew between European and North African bases as well as seniority and annual leave arrangements.

The two sides failed to reach an agreement after seven hours of talks.

Ryanair said on Wednesday morning that passengers on the affected flights had been notified and “re-accommodated”. But that evening on Twitter, Rachel Crawford complained: “Why have you only notified us at 9.30pm tonight that our flight tomorrow is now cancelled. No warning that our flight could be affected. This is a disgrace, a family holiday ruined.”

The airline employs directly around 100 pilots in Ireland. Most flights are operating as normal, flown by pilots who work for the airline on personal services contracts.

Ryanair had long refused to recognise trade unions, but in December 2017 its policy changed.

An airline spokesperson said: “We respect but regret the decision of 25 per cent of our Irish pilots to go on strike, but believe that they should take up our offer of working groups so we can resolve these issues.”

In a separate dispute over a wide range of demands, cabin crew in Belgium, Italy and Portugal are planning 48-hour strikes on 25 and 26 July, while their colleagues in Italy will stop work for 24 hours on 25 July.