Ryanair has lost its High Court bid to block strike action by its UK pilots.
However the airline said it still hopes to operate a full schedule of flights to and from UK airports on August 22-23.
Ryanair said in a statement: “We do not expect significant disruptions on Thurs or Friday, however we cannot rule out some small flight delays and changes.”
UK-employed pilots belonging to the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) voted strongly in favour of industrial action in August and September.
Ryanair pilots in Ireland had been planning to strike on the same days in a long-running dispute over pay and working conditions but the airline was successful in halting the walkout.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Ryanair strikes, and what to do if your flight has been affected.
Why are Ryanair pilots striking?
The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) said the strike is down to a row over pay and working conditions. A union statement cited disputes over “loss of license insurance, maternity benefits, allowances, and a fair, transparent, and consistent pay structure”.
Ryanair hit back at “unreasonable pay demands that captains pay be doubled from £170,000 to over £375,700.”
The airline also slammed BALPA and claimed the strike could “severely damage Ryanair’s business and UK pilot jobs” weeks before Brexit.
BALPA pilots announced the walkout after an industrial ballot held by the union saw 80 per cent of pilots vote in favour of strike action, with a 72 per cent turnout amongst BALPA members.
Irish pilots union Forsa/IALPA also served notice last month that industrial action would take place after mediated talks failed to bring an agreement with the company over the union’s pay proposals.
Ryanair’s Chief People Officer Eddie Wilson has said that the airline cannot concede to the pilots’ “grossly unreasonable demands”.
He said: “We have done everything in our power to avoid disruption to our flights and our customers’ holidays. However, no company can concede to grossly unreasonable demands from its highest paid workers for a further pay increase of over 100% (when they already agreed and received a 20% pay increase earlier this year) at a time when the airline industry is in crisis.”
When are the strikes planned?
BALPA pilots are set to go ahead with industrial action in the UK on August 22-23 and September 3-4.
Meanwhile, the High Court in Dublin approved Ryanair’s injunction to stop the IALPA pilot strikes – which means the planned walkouts on Thursday August 22 and Friday August 23 have now been called off.
Which flights will be affected?
Millions of passengers are expected to fly with Ryanair on the scheduled strike days.
However, because the airline uses crews based in France, Spain, Italy and elsewhere for flights to and from British airports, it is thought not many flights serving the UK will be affected.
Ryanair should inform its passengers over text or email if their flight has been affected by strike action whilst a statement from the airline on Wednesday said there will only be “small flight delays/or flight changes”.
Am I entitled to compensation for cancelled flights?
You may be able to claim back costs caused as a result of a delayed or cancelled flight – for example, accommodation costs or food and drink while waiting at an airport.
However, unlike delays for other reasons, airlines are not obligated to offer compensation following industrial action because strikes are usually considered to be ‘extraordinary circumstances.’
Following strike action last year, Ryanair were ordered by the Civil Aviation Authority to pay compensation of €250 to €400 per passenger, so if the strikes go ahead, it’s possible that travellers affected could be entitled to a similar figure.