50,000 passengers expected to be affected by airline strike

Ryanair strike Pilots in the Netherlands to join Europe-wide strikes on Friday

Ryanair strike Pilots in the Netherlands to join Europe-wide strikes on Friday

This is the latest of several strikes by Ryanair pilots and cabin crew in under a month, and the first involving joint action by pilots from several countries.

Despite the walkouts, 85 per cent of its scheduled flights, more than 2,000, will operate as normal, Ryanair said.

Around 250 flights have been cancelled as a result, forcing passengers who planned on travelling on Friday to rebook or take different routes.

A spokesperson said: "Ryanair fully complies with all EU261 legislation, however as these flight cancellations were caused by extraordinary circumstances, no compensation is due".

Pilots in France have not joined the strike, and most of the flights will directly affect passengers in Germany (accounting for around 42,000 of the 55,000 passengers expected to be affected).

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Ryanair, which is based in the Swords area of Dublin, called the strikes "regrettable and unjustified" and urged unions to come back to the negotiating table.

"They tweeted: "£ryanair cancelled my flight in the last min because of pilots strike.

In the Netherlands, Ryanair filed for an urgent court order to try to stop Dutch pilots from joining the industrial action.

Previous year it agreed to recognise unions for the first time but it is in a dispute over collective labour agreements.

But Ryanair pilots say they earn less than counterparts at other airlines like Lufthansa.

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French news source France Info dubbed the strike "historic", specifying that it is the biggest walkout in the history of Ryanair.

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But chief executive Michael O'Leary has also warned the airline may shift jobs and planes to more profitable areas if the turmoil continues.

He claimed it made it harder for management to ignore their demands, adding: 'I think it also sends a signal to other companies where workers are played off against each other'.

"We expect the company to lower profit guidance for FY19 as it lowers capacity, on both strike disruption and crew shortages, and see weaker unit revenue trends as strike-affected traffic is redeployed on to operating flights and as passengers book away from what is now a less reliable travel option than usual", HSBC analyst Andrew Lobbenberg said.

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At Charleroi Airport, Belgium's second largest and a major Ryanair hub in the region, striking staff gathered in the departure hall and held up banners reading "Ryanair must change- Respect us".

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