Low-cost carrier Ryanair managed to maintain its load factor and increase traffic in July despite having to cancel hundreds of flights over strike action in multiple countries.
The airline is embroiled in a row with Irish pilots, as well as cabin crew in Spain, Portugal and Belgium. It has been forced to cancel flights on high-frequency routes from Ireland and axed 300 flights per day over two days of cabin crew walk-outs last month.
It is also one of many airlines facing delays due to air traffic control staff shortages. It has joined forces with British Airways owner International Airlines Group - the parent company of British Airways and Spain's Iberia which was created by the merger of the two carriers in 2010 to lodge a formal complaint to the European Commission about repeated air traffic control strikes, which it says are ‘restricting’ peoples’ freedom of movement.
Ryanair says July 2018 saw more than 1,000 flights cancelled, compared to just 23 in July 2017.
Despite the cancellations, the carrier has reported a 4 per cent increase in traffic in July to 13.1 million passengers. Its load factor remained flat at 97 per cent.
Rolling annual traffic is up 7 per cent to 133.5 million passengers.
Kenny Jacobs, chief marketing officer at Ryanair, commented: “Regrettably, almost 200,000 Ryanair customers had their flights cancelled in July because of repeated ATC staff shortages in the UK, Germany and France, adverse weather, and unnecessary pilot and cabin crew strikes. Ryanair, together with other European airlines, calls for urgent action by the EU Commission and European governments to address the effect of these ATC staff shortages which are disrupting the travel plans of millions of Europe’s consumers this summer.”
Ryanair has threatened to move some of its fleet from Dublin to Poland if pilot strikes continue, putting hundreds of Irish jobs at risk. Meanwhile, pilots in Germany are threatening to strike this month if their demands are not met.