Ryanair confirmed this morning that it has reached an agreement in its dispute with its Irish pilots.
Shares in the airline rose 5.5 per cent at morning trading to 14p in response to the news, with the announcement a potential turning point in ongoing industrial action that has grounded flights across the summer period.
Irish trade union Forsa, representing pilots, ended 22 hours of discussion with the carrier early this morning. Pilots are to be balloted on the terms of the agreement, after which the proposals will be delivered to the company board.
Ryanair has been subject to simultaneous strikes across the continent this summer. Staff across five European countries co-ordinated industrial action that forced the carrier to cancel 300 flights, and affected 50,000 passengers. One hundred of Ryanair's 350 Irish based pilots were involved in the action, citing the company’s planned alterations to annual leave and promotions.
Neither party wished to comment beyond confirmation of the agreement, as mediator Kieran Mulvey has asked both sides to refrain from speaking until after the ballot has been carried out.
CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson hoped the resolution would signal the end to disruption he said was wrought by Ryanair management's "confrontational approach" to staff relations.
“Whether it will be enough to repair the damage to the brand in the wake of the company’s unsympathetic approach to stranding some of its passengers is another matter," he added. "A lot of people could well be reluctant to take a chance on travelling with Ryanair in the future given this year’s problems.”
Ryanair announced the expansion of its Luton operations today. The carrier will invest $200m at the airport, introducing six additional routes to Europe, and another two aircraft. Ryanair intends to carry 2.2m passengers a year, to and from, London Luton.
On other fronts however, the airline continues to tackle problems. It expressed regret yesterday after banks rejected 190 compensation cheques issued to customers. A spokesperson for the airline said: "We apologise sincerely for this inconvenience, which arose out of our desire to issue these compensations cheques quickly to our customers."
In July, further flights were cancelled as cabin crews in Belgium, Portugal and Spain held a two-day strike involving five separate unions. Spain is, after France, the most popular tourist destination. Six hundred flights were cancelled, affecting 100,000 passengers.
Previous Irish strikes resulted in the carrier scaling down operations from its Dublin base by 20 per cent.
Elsewhere in Europe, the carrier's Dutch cabin crew last night voted to strike in a separate dispute over pay and labour conditions.