Ryanair could spark holiday hell for UK travellers as pilots threatened a summer strike. The shock proposed walkout was confirmed by pilots’ union Balpa, who told how pilots from the budget airline would vote in a ballot from July 26. If a strike is proposed following the ballot closure date on August 7, flight chaos could ensue as quickly as to weeks after – in the height of the summer holiday season. The huge disruption would add to scheduled strikes at London Heathrow from July 26, and industrial action affecting easyJet at London Stansted.
Balpa pilots working for the UK’s flagship carrier, British Airways, have also balloted for strike in what could be a torrid summer for British travellers.
Talking of the Ryanair action, Balpa confirmed it has tabled a detailed pay and conditions claim to try to resolve many outstanding areas of concern for pilots centred on pensions, loss of license insurance, maternity benefits and allowances.
It will also consider what it calls “a fair and consistent pay structure”.
It added it had not “come to an agreement” with Ryanair, or CEO Michael O’Leary, on those terms.
Brian Strutton, of Balpa, said of the Ryanair ballot: ‘Representatives have been trying to tackle some of the many issues that result from years of non-recognition of unions within Ryanair.
The cutbacks centre on uncertainty over the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft deliveries during winter 2019 and summer 2020
This has forced the airline to “revise” the summer 2020 schedule based on 30 aircraft, with growth rate cut to three per cent from a previous forecast of seven percent.
The “base cuts and closures” will therefore see the firm transport 157million guests in the forecast growth for the year, compared to original expectations of 16 million.
Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said: “For planning purposes, Ryanair will now revise its summer 2020 schedule based on 30 incremental aircraft, rather than 58.
“This will cut Ryanair’s summer 2020 growth rate from seven per cent to three per cent, and means full year traffic growth for the year to March 2021 will be cut from 162million guests to approx. 157million.
“This shortfall in aircraft deliveries will necessitate some base cuts and closures for summer 2020, but also for the winter 2019 schedule.”
Express.co.uk also reported the latest Ryanair hand luggage limitations, after many customers were caught out by the stringent rules.
Expresss.co.uk has gone to Ryanair for comment on the strike ballot.