Ryanair has announced it will cut its Dublin-based fleet from 30 to 24 aircraft for the winter 2018 season, putting around 300 jobs at risk.

The carrier says the 20 per cent reduction comes after a downturn in forward bookings and lower fares in Ireland. It claims strikes by Irish pilots has had a negative effect on forward air fares as “consumer confidence in the reliability” of its flights has been “disturbed”.

The aircraft will be re-allocated to Ryanair’s Polish charter airline, which it says has “grown profitably in 2018”. It provided five planes for Polish tour operators this summer.

Although the carrier says it expects “few route closures from Dublin”, some services may see a reduced frequency as a result of the cuts.

Ryanair says it has written letters to more than 100 Dublin-based pilots and 200 cabin crew with a 90-day protective notice to inform them that their services “may not be required” from 28 October.

If the airline decides to make redundancies, it says it will review “flight performance, productivity, attendance and base transfer requests” and will offer to transfer employees to Poland or other bases “to minimise redundancies”.

Peter Bellew, COO of Ryanair, 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 growth (such as Poland), and 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.

“Ryanair operates a fleet of over 450 aircraft from 87 bases across Europe. We can only do so if we continue to offer low fares, reliable flights services to our customers and 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.”

The news comes after Ryanair reportedly threatened jobs when pilot strikes in Ireland and cabin crew strikes in Portugal, Belgium and Spain caused the carrier to cancel hundreds of flights during the first week of the summer holidays.

The carrier claims its offers to negotiate with Irish union Forsa over pilots’ demands have gone unanswered.

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