LONDON – Ryanair has today announced that the French Air Traffic Control strikes that happened over the weekend only affected 2% of the airline’s 9,000 flights.
In a statement, the airline said the following:
“Ryanair has today (26 June) confirmed that it encountered only very minor disruption to its schedules over the weekend (24/25/26 June), mainly due to a 2-day strike at the French Air Traffic Control (ATC) center in Marseille and thunderstorms across Southern Europe, which have regrettably resulted in a number of flight cancellations from Spain, Italy, UK & France that would normally transit through French airspace.”
“Less than 2% of Ryanair’s 9,000 flights operating this weekend (24/25/26 June) have been affected by minor and poorly supported crew strikes.
“Any passengers whose flights were disrupted by any ATC delays/strikes or weather disruption have been notified by email/SMS.”
The way the statement was released does insinuate some level of negativity towards those who striked over the weekend.
When you look at it from a purely numbers-based perspective, the strikes canceled 180 flights, which is still a lot of flights to be canceled.
If you base that off the single configuration of 189 seats for a Boeing 737-800 or 197 for a Boeing 737 MAX 200, this would represent a number between 34,020 & 35,460 passengers, if all flights were fully laden.
With Ryanair offering a load factor of 92% in May, this would suggest a high number of passengers affected by the changes.
So, if anything, it is the level of insinuation which does indicate damage, rather than actually downplaying the damage that has taken place.
Ryanair’s Relationship with Strike Action…
It’s clear that strike actions happen a lot at Ryanair, especially when it comes to collective bargaining. Back in April, the airline’s cabin crew in Belgium went on strike.
According to the CNE/ACV Puls union, management at Ryanair “does not respect the fundamental rights of its Belgian employees”, Aviation24 reports.
“Three years after having finally accepted to respect Belgian legislation, Ryanair continues to flout the rights of its workers, Didier Lebbe, the CNE Secretary said at the time.
The ACV Puls union claims also that there is a lack of understanding of Belgian law by the carrier’s human resource director.
On top of this, Hans Elsen of that union claims that wage slips are often wrong:
“Wage slips are often wrong, wages are not paid correctly, essential documents for social legislation are not in order, and so on.”
On the topic of wages also, the unions have criticized Ryanair for not increasing pay, especially when Brussels Charleroi makes a substantial profit margin:
“They work on holidays, weekends, early and late hours for a paltry 2,000 euros gross, while Ryanair in Charleroi has a profit margin of 30 percent”.
Then, earlier this month, Ryanair’s Spanish cabin crew announced strike action as well, with the first round already completed.
It is understood that the crew will be striking between June 24-26, and June 30 as well as July 1-2 over working conditions and pay.
Unions SITCPLA and USO will be working together to coordinate the strike actions, which are set to cause significant disruption over an important period of the Summer 2022 season.
It remains clear that Ryanair was indeed trying to downplay the level of damage the French ATC strikes caused.
But what has to be considered is the impact of the over 30,000 passengers at worst that may have been affected by this.
Looking ahead, it will be interesting to see what other disruption will be caused by strikes over the Summer 2022 season and whether Ryanair will be as bullish next time.