Belfast Telegraph

Strike-hit Ryanair to cut 300 Dublin jobs as it reduces size of fleet in city

Cuts: Michael O’Leary
Cuts: Michael O’Leary

By Holly Williams

Around 300 jobs are at risk in Dublin as budget airline Ryanair warned that it could slash jobs as it reduces its fleet in the city.

The airline, which offers 15 routes direct from Belfast, blamed recent pilot strike action for the decision and said its fleet in Dublin Airport would be reduced by 20%.

The carrier, led by Michael O'Leary, said it had issued 90-day notices to the affected staff and will now begin consultations on redundancy.

It is cutting its Dublin-based fleet from 30 to around 24 for the winter and instead doubling its Polish fleet to more than 10, partly as a result of recent strikes by pilots, which it said had hit bookings and consumer confidence in its Irish services.

The group will be offering affected employees transfers to Poland to minimise redundancies.

Chief operating officer Peter Bellew said: "We regret these base aircraft reductions at Dublin for winter 2018, but the board has decided to allocate more aircraft to those markets where we are enjoying strong growth, such as Poland.

"This will result in some aircraft reductions and job cuts in country markets where business has weakened, or forward bookings are being damaged by rolling strikes by Irish pilots."

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He added: "If our reputation for reliability or forward bookings is affected, then base and potential job cuts such as these at Dublin are a deeply regretted consequence."

Ryanair had warned earlier this week that jobs could be lost after facing strikes over pay and conditions.

Dozens of Ryanair's Irish-based pilots staged their third 24-hour strike on Tuesday in an ongoing dispute over working arrangements, including annual leave and promotions.

The industrial action led to the cancellation of 16 flights, affecting 2,500 customers.

Ryanair, which was forced to recognise unions last December for the first time in its history, said it will decide on redundancies based on its "assessment of flight performance, productivity, attendances and base transfer requests".

It met with pilot union Forsa and its pilots committee yesterday to discuss the job cuts. On Monday, the group reported a 20% plunge in profits to €319 million (£285m) for the three months to June 30 after being stung by lower fares, higher oil prices and pilot costs.

As well as the pilot strikes, Ryanair is also battling against disruption from air traffic control strikes in Europe and filed a complaint on Tuesday to the European Commission against France over the issue, alongside British Airways owner IAG, easyJet and Wizz Air.

The airline, which operates a fleet of more than 450 aircraft from 87 bases across Europe, announced last month that it will open a base at London Southend Airport in April 2019.

From there, it said it will operate 13 routes to eight locations including Barcelona, Corfu, Milan and Venice.

Fifty-five flights a week carrying an estimated one million passengers each year will take off from the airport, creating 750 jobs.

Belfast Telegraph