Ryanair strike: 400 flights cancelled in pilot walkout

Ryanair strike: 400 flights cancelled in pilot walkout

Ryanair strike: 400 flights cancelled in pilot walkout

Budget airline Ryanair said Wednesday it is cancelling 400 of over 2,400 flights on Friday due to a strike by pilots in Ireland, Sweden, Belgium and Germany at the height of the vacation travel season. But the figure could rise to 82 flights if routes between the Dutch city of Eindhoven and the Spanish cities of Reus and Valencia are finally canceled, after a court said on Thursday that Dutch pilots may join the walkout.

Customers have been notified and a majority of those affected moved to another Ryanair flight, the company said. The airline has been hit with strikes by flight attendants in Spain, Portugal and Belgium.

Belgium-based Ryanair pilots gather at Charleroi Airport as part of a European-wide strike.

Ryanair, which averted widespread strikes before Christmas by agreeing to recognise unions for the first time in its 30-year history, has been unable to quell rising protests since over slow progress in negotiating collective labour agreements. Ryanair had filed for an urgent court order to prevent industrial action by pilots in the Netherlands.

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But the "once in a lifetime experience" of being at her best friend Justine's wedding seems impossible now, after Ryanair cancelled her flight with two days' notice.

Ingolf Schumacher, pay negotiator at Germany's Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) union, said pilots had to be prepared for "a very long battle" and that it could take months to push through change at Europe's largest low-priced carrier.

The unions are demanding a raise in salaries, unions say, alongside the issuing of more secure working contracts that are valid in each pilot's country of residence (which they claim does not always happen).

Responding to the comments Mr Calder made on the BBC today, Ryanair told Express.co.uk: "In the case of a cancelled flight, if the customer requests a full refund, then no further compensation is due".

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Will Ryanair be offering compensation for travellers?

Around 55,000 passengers would be affected by the strikes, said Ryanair, which has offered customers refunds or the option of rerouting their journey.

Unions have strongly condemned what they see as Ryanair's attempts to play countries off against each other.

"We want to again apologise to customers affected by this unnecessary disruption and we ask the striking unions to continue negotiations instead of calling anymore unjustified strikes".

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