Ryanair warns of further staff disruption

Front part of Ryanair plane on ground at Ciampino airport, Italy Image copyright Getty Images

Ryanair is warning of "localised disruptions" as it recognises unions across the countries it operates in.

The airline, which resisted worker representation for years, is also expected to extend union recognition to cabin crew.

Last month Ryanair agreed to recognise a union for its 600 UK pilots. That followed a row over pilots' rotas which saw thousands of flights cancelled.

Ryanair also said that it expects fares to fall 3% this year.

In a trading update the airline said profits for the three months to the end of December had risen 12% to €106m (£93.6m), while passenger numbers rose by 6% in the period to 30.4 million.

Ryanair said: "As we finalise union discussions along similar lines to that agreed in the UK, we expect some localised disruptions and adverse PR so investors should be prepared for same."

It said that once that process had been completed, it expected to have "similar engagement with cabin crew unions".

But Ryanair said that during the process, unions at other airlines could spark trouble: "In certain jurisdictions, unions representing competitor airlines will wish to test our commitment to our low cost, high pay/high productivity model to disrupt our operations.

"We are fully prepared to face down any such disruption if it means defending our cost base or our high productivity model."

'Considerable uncertainty'

Ryanair said it was still expecting profits for the full-year to be between €1.4bn and €1.45bn, but it said that that depended on three things: the absence of union disruptions, unforeseen security events and the level of Easter bookings.

It also warned that there was considerable uncertainty about the future direction of fares and that, unlike its competitors, it was not confident that it could increase ticket prices this summer.

It said cost pressures would rise, including higher fuel bills and a further €100m in staff costs thanks to a pay rise of 20% for its pilots.

It added that a lack of clarity on Brexit continued to cloud its business outlook.

It repeated its warning that there was "a worrying risk of serious disruption" to flights between the UK and the European Union from April 2019 unless there was some sort of agreement in advance of September 2018.

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