Ryanair pilots in Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, and the Netherlands conducted a one day strike on Friday, August 10, for increased pay and better working conditions. The airline has estimated that the strike grounded 369 flights, potentially affecting more than 74,000 passengers in one day.
Ryanair, the largest European carrier by number of passengers, saw nearly 400 flights cancelled on Friday, August 10, due to a pilots’ strike. The pilots’ trade union, formed last December, states that it called for the strike in search of better working conditions and to force the airline to engage in promised negotiations with its workers.
This strike followed other actions by Ryanair pilots and cabin crews in previous months, including a 48-hour cabin crew walkout in Belgium, Italy, Portugal, and Spain last month and a strike in Ireland that led Ryanair to lay off 300 Dublin staff. The decrease in staff could not come at a worse time for the carrier, which estimated that staff shortages on Wednesday in France, Spain, Greece, the UK, and Austria led to delays for 340 flights, or about 14% of its operations that day.
While Ryanair states that it notified passengers as early as possible about changes in flight conditions, many travelers nevertheless took to social media to complain about short notice and lack of customer support. The Guardian reports Karen Millar as stating, “Many thanks to Ryanair for cancelling my flight home and ensuring all the de-stressing I have done on this trip is cancelled out in an instant.” Other passengers noted that though the airline had promised free rebooking, it was difficult to access the company’s website, support phonelines, and livechat.
An airline spokeswoman called the strike “unjustified,” but said that the airline was nonetheless able to operate “more than 2,000 Ryanair flights (85% of our schedule)… carrying almost 400,000 customers across Europe. The majority of customers affected have already been reaccommodated on another Ryanair flight. We want to again apologise to customers affected by this unnecessary disruption.”