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Ryanair under pressure with more strikes

Further strikes are likely in Germany and Ireland, among other countries, as quarterly profits fall 20%.

Ryanair’s management is under pressure as profits fall and as strike action continues with no sign of going away.

The low-cost carrier unveiled its results for the three months to the end of June last week, showing a 20% drop in after-tax profits to €319 million – despite a 7% rise in passenger numbers to 37.6 million.

The airline blames lower fares – the airline’s average fare for the quarter declined 4% to €38.68 – as well as rising fuel and pilot costs and an early Easter. Seven weeks ago, the Financial Times reported that CEO Michael O’Leary sold his shares in the airline.

But the ongoing strikes are a bigger media disaster. Irish pilots say they will walk out again on August 3, during an August bank holiday weekend, while cabin crew in Portugal, Italy, Spain and Belgium walked off the job last Wednesday.

Around 3,500 passengers will be hit by delays and cancellations in Ireland this Friday, which Ryanair says represents 20 out of 300 flights that are scheduled on the day.

“Big vote for yes”
And German pilots are expected soon to announce their first wave of strike action against Ryanair today, following a month-long vote on the issue.

“A big vote for yes” is how Janis Georg Schmitt of the Vereinigung Cockpit union anticipates the outcome of the vote, expected to be announced today, the Irish Independent reports.

Members are demanding that the fixed part of their income should be increased and the flexible part which depends on the number of hours they fly should be reduced.

“I don’t think there will be industrial action directly after the vote, but possibly a week later,” Schmitt said.

The airline claims its employees are much better paid than at most competitor airlines, its captains earning up to €200,000 a year and its pilots paid up to 20% more than at airlines such as Norwegian and Jet2, while its cabin crew earn up to €40,000, the Irish Independent says.

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