Low-cost airline Ryanair facing pilots’ strike before Christmas

IRISH airline Ryanair is facing the threat of a pilots’ strike in the run up to Christmas.

It comes after pilots in Italy voted to strike for four hours on Friday December 15, with their Portugese counterparts also having voted in favour of industrial action just days earlier.

And the chaos may spread further as pilots in Dublin mull over whether to join the protests.

The budget carrier has been regularly criticised by its aircrew in recent months, with staff outraged over issues which led to 20,000 flights being cancelled in September.

Irish Pilots Union President, Captain Evan Mullen, said: “The pilot issues which gave rise to the flight cancellations earlier this year have not been adequately addressed. Ryanair pilots, who are members of IALPA, are currently considering their options.”

But Ryanair brushed off the threat of strikes, noting that earlier ultimatums failed to lead to action.

The airline said in a statement: “We regularly receive threats of industrial action from competitor airline pilot unions from Italy, Portugal and even Aer Lingus pilots occasionally. Both we and our pilots ignore these letters.

Many of Ryanair’s 4,200 pilots work as agency contractors, and an error in shift scheduling led to the raft of cancelled flights.

Company boss Michael O’Leary admitted “we made a mess” in the wake of the incident, which affected hundreds of thousands of passengers.

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