Evening Express

Ryanair boss says staff strikes necessary to keep fares low

Strikes by pilots are necessary to keep air fares down, the boss of Ryanair has claimed.

Chief executive Michael O’Leary insisted industrial disputes with the airline’s staff have caused “minimal disruption” as he pledged not to “roll over”.

He made the comments after Ryanair cancelled 150 out of 400 flights scheduled to fly to and from Germany on Wednesday due to a 24-hour strike by pilots and cabin crew.

German unions claim the Dublin-based airline is not offering satisfactory deals on pay and working conditions, but this is denied by Ryanair.

The carrier’s pilots in several countries staged a strike last month, and there have been a series of walkouts by flight attendants.

Speaking at a press conference in the City of London, Mr O’Leary said: “We will not roll over every time we’re threatened with a strike and concede some higher cost basis.

“If you threaten us with a strike and we think your reason for that is unreasonable, then we will take strikes and we will manage our way around those strikes, as we’ve done successfully in Ireland when we had five days of strikes by just 25% of pilots.

“It resulted in 20 flight cancellations a day for five days, out of a total of 300 flights that we operate daily to and from Ireland.

“We don’t want strikes but we are willing to accept strikes, put up with them, if it means defending our cost basis and our ability to offer low fare air travel to our customers.”