Ryanair has lost a legal bid to prevent its pilots from striking later this week but insisted its passengers would suffer little disruption.
The budget airline applied for a High Court injunction that would have stopped its UK pilots from striking tomorrow and on Friday, meaning the industrial action will go ahead.
However, it said the “vast majority” of its pilots had volunteered to work on the strike days, allowing it to operate a full schedule from its UK airports. But it warned there could be some delays and changes to flights.
“We do not expect significant disruptions on Thursday or Friday, however we cannot rule out some small flight delays and/or flight changes,” the airline said.
“We are working hard with our pilot teams to minimise any such delays for our customers and their families.”
Ryanair has been locked in a dispute with pilots who are members of the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) over issues such as pensions, loss of licence insurance, maternity benefit, allowances and the airline’s pay structures.
Ryanair said it was “unreasonable” that the pay of captains “should be doubled from a current £170,000 p.a. to over £375,700 p.a., just nine weeks before Brexit, which could severely damage Ryanair’s business and UK pilot jobs”.
Balpa said Ryanair was “foolish” to bring the dispute to court and offered to hold talks to avert the strikes.
Balpa general secretary Brian Strutton said: “We offered to meet Ryanair management at Acas to negotiate a resolution, but instead they attempted a legal bludgeon. That’s backfired.
“However, we are clear that we want to settle the dispute and bring about a change in Ryanair for the better.
“We hope that Ryanair will take up our offer of a way forward this evening so we can call off this action. In the event that Ryanair rejects our overture and therefore the action over the next two days does go ahead, we apologise to the passengers who will be affected. Such action could have been avoided if Ryanair adopts a different approach.”