As Ryanair pilots employed in the UK prepare to ballot on industrial action, The Independent has assessed the possible impact of any strike.
Flight crew who work for Europe’s biggest budget airline and belong to the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) are to be balloted in a dispute over issues including pensions, allowances and maternity benefits.
The union’s general secretary, Brian Strutton said: “We have not been able to come to an agreement with the company in relation to any one of our concerns.
“Indeed, the company has not tabled any offers whatsoever.”
Pilots will be sent voting forms on 24 July, and the results of the ballot are due to be announced on 7 August.
Industrial law requires two weeks’ notice of any strike, so the earliest it could begin is 21 August – just ahead of the August bank holiday weekend in England and Wales.
Last August, 450 Ryanair flights were cancelled as pilots in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland and Sweden are staging coordinated 24-hour strikes. Around 75,000 passengers were affected.
The Civil Aviation Authority urged travellers whose flights were cancelled to claim compensation of €250 or more under European air passengers’ rights rules.
Ryanair has told The Independent it expects fly an average of 156,000 passengers a day to or from UK airports during the summer.
Stansted is by far the airline’s biggest base, with more than 200 Ryanair departures per day – carrying 36,000 passengers.
The leading route is from Stansted to Dublin, though some of the flights are operated by pilots employed in Ireland.
Flights from many other UK airports could be affected, including Belfast International, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Leeds Bradford, Liverpool, Luton, Manchester, Prestwick and Southend.
But the key route between Gatwick and Dublin will not be affected by any strike, as it is crewed from Ireland.
Pilots working for British Airways and belonging to Balpa are currently being balloted on industrial action, with the result expected on 22 July. The first possible date for a strike is 5 August.
Separately, 4,000 workers at Heathrow airport, including security guards, are set to strike on 26 and 27 July and on a series of dates in August.
Around 100 security staff at Gatwick are being balloted on strike action.