Ryanair set to cut jobs as pilots plan fourth strike

Low cost airline Ryanair has warned over job losses for more than 100 pilots and 200 cabin crew

LOW cost airline Ryanair has warned over job losses for more than 100 pilots and 200 cabin crew as it revealed plans to cut its Dublin-based aircraft fleet by 20 per cent, blaming recent pilot strike action.

The carrier said it had issued 90-day notices to the affected staff and will now begin consultations on redundancy.

It is cutting its Dublin-based fleet from 30 to around 24 for the winter and instead doubling its Polish fleet to more than 10, partly as a result of recent strikes by Irish pilots, which it said had hit bookings and consumer confidence in its Irish services.

The group will be offering affected employees transfers to Poland to minimise redundancies.

Chief operating officer Peter Bellew said: "We regret these base aircraft reductions at Dublin for winter 2018, but the board has decided to allocate more aircraft to those markets where we are enjoying strong growth (such as Poland).

"This will result in some aircraft reductions and job cuts in country markets where business has weakened, or forward bookings are being damaged by rolling strikes by Irish pilots."

He added: "If our reputation for reliability or forward bookings is affected, then base and potential job cuts such as these at Dublin are a deeply regretted consequence."

In response, Irish-based Ryanair pilots who are members of the Irish Airline Pilots' Association (Ialpa) have confirmed plans to strike a fourth day on Friday, August 3.

Their union Fórsa said further strike action would follow unless the airline's management changed tack and negotiated in good faith on the issue of base transfers and related matters.

In a statement today, Fórsa described Ryanair's actions as "reckless and unnecessary" and would harden pilots' resolve.

"Fórsa remains available for talks, and believes it is possible to reach an agreement on the issues in dispute through negotiations," they said.

"Ryanair management would do well to consider the use of independent third party mediation, as has frequently been suggested by Fórsa, to help the parties reach a settlement that addresses pilots' reasonable issues, while preserving jobs and growth in the company and its Irish bases.”

Dozens of Ryanair's Irish-based pilots staged their third 24-hour strike on Tuesday in an ongoing dispute over working arrangements including annual leave and promotions.

The industrial action led to the cancellation of 16 flights affecting 2,500 customers.

On Monday, Ryanair reported a 20 per cent plunge in profits to 319 million euro (£285m) for the three months to June 30 after being stung by lower fares, higher oil prices and pilot costs.

As well as the pilot strikes, Ryanair is also battling against disruption from air traffic control strikes in Europe and filed a complaint on Tuesday to the European Commission against France over the issue, alongside British Airways owner IAG, easyJet and Wizz Air.

Ryanair operates a fleet of more than 450 aircraft from 87 bases across Europe.

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