Ryanair braced for potential Easter and summer disruption after progress stalls on some union talks

Rebecca Smith
The airline has been looking to tie up talks with unions
The airline has been looking to tie up talks with unions (Source: Getty)

Low-cost carrier Ryanair is braced for some flight disruption over Easter and potentially over the summer months as it aims to press on with union talks.

The airline's chief executive Michael O'Leary told a news conference today he expected some impact on flights - specifically into and out of Ireland and Portugal - as Ryanair hashes out the details of union recognition and how it will work with pilot unions.

"We are very close to concluding agreements in Spain and Italy and expect them to be finalised within the next month," Reuters reported O'Leary telling a news conference in Brussels.

Read more: Ryanair shrugs off pilot group's call for chief exec O'Leary to resign

"We're not making as much progress in other countries, most notably Ireland, and in Portugal. We expect some disruptions, possibly over Easter, maybe over the summer period," he said.

Last year, Ryanair cancelled a raft of flights in September when it faced pilot rostering troubles, with a number of routes then suspended.

The airline managed to quell a threat of strikes over the festive period, agreeing to recognise unions.

In January, it struck a deal to recognise the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) as the sole representative body for Ryanair pilots in the UK.

And at the beginning of the year, Ryanair said pilots across all 15 of its UK bases had accepted a pay rise. The airline said pilots had voted in secret ballot to back pay increases of up to 20 per cent, paid in the January payroll.

However, last month, O'Leary faced a call from pilot group the European Employee Representative Council (EERC) calling on him to resign.

In its letter, the EERC, an unofficial body set up to push for improved conditions last year, said the budget airline had failed to stem the large number of pilots leaving the airline.

Ryanair, however, said in response that the EERC "have no legal standing or validity".

"Ryanair pilots continue to accept pay increases of 20 per cent (so far accepted by 80 per cent of Ryanair pilots) which show that Ryanair pilots do not pay any attention to this so-called EERC either," the airline said in a statement.

Yesterday, Ryanair reported a five per cent rise in traffic for last month to 8.6m customers.

Read more: Ryanair is closing a UK base blaming air passenger duty 'burden'

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