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Ryanair cancels 250 flights as strikes in six countries hit services



Ryanair says it is expecting minimal disruption on Friday after it cancelled around 250 flights ahead of a new wave of staff strikes.

The no-frills airline is facing walkouts for 24-hours by pilots and crew, in separate disputes, across six destination countries amid continuing difficulties securing union recognition agreements.

It had initially cancelled 190 flights ahead of action by cabin crew in Spain, Belgium, Holland, Portugal, Italy and Germany.

:: Ryanair boss warns planes could be grounded by Brexit

It later reduced that number to 150, but was then forced to add 100 services to the list after pilots in Germany said they would be striking too.

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary
Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary has refused to cave in to staff demands

Ryanair’s chief operations officer Peter Bellew said the action, over pay and conditions, was “deeply regrettable”.

“It is deeply disappointing that some of our customers and our people in Germany tomorrow will have their flights disrupted by an unnecessary strike called at short notice,” he said.

The strikes are the latest in a series of walkouts which have previously also involved staff in Ireland and Sweden.

The airline has also faced a backlash for refusing to pay compensation for cancelled flights.

Earlier this month Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said the disputes had caused “minimal disruption” and he pledged not to “roll over”.

Ryanair’s loss – in that industrial action has contributed to a decline of more than 20% in its share price this year – has seemingly benefited easyJet.

The low-cost rival, which is in positive territory in market value terms, reported on Friday that it was expecting annual profits to come in at the higher end of expectations after bookings benefited from Ryanair’s series of cancellations.

It forecast pre-tax profits of between £570m and £580m over the 12 months to 30 September – a rise of at least 40% on the previous year.

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