Ryanair strike: Implications for Bulgarian flight connections possible

Written by on December 13, 2017 in Europe - Comments Off on Ryanair strike: Implications for Bulgarian flight connections possible

Ryanair may be a so-called low-cost airline, the first one founded in Europe. At the same time, Ryanair overtook everyone else in the European business last year, by becoming the largest European airline last year. From and to Sofia, Ryanair offers 21 flight connections, at this stage.

Lots of Bulgarian expatriates in Cyprus, Greece, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Germany and the rest of Europe have made travel plans for the Christmas holidays, by buying Ryanair tickets to Bulgaria, while many citizens of other countries, who live in Bulgaria, will want to spend the holidays in their home countries and got flight tickets as well.  Some of them might run into issues.

The reason is a possible strike among Ryanair pilots. Many of them insist on a better pay. By taking industrial action shortly before Christmas they want to pressure the company into agreeing to negotiations about a raise.

Pilot unions in several European countries are organising strikes. One of them is the German “Vereinigung Cockpit”. Unions in Italy and Portugal followed suit. So did the “Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association” (IALPA) in Dublin.

So far, Ryanair’s reaction is rather stubborn. In Germany, the company said it had heard announcements by unions, but considered those to be part of their “public relations work”. The airline firmly rejected negotiations.

At the Irish headquarters, Ryanair released a statement, in which the company apologised to customers “for any upset or worry this threatened action by less than 28 per cent of our Dublin pilots may cause them over the coming days.”

“While some disruption may occur, Ryanair believes this will largely be confined to a small group of pilots who are working their notice and will shortly leave Ryanair, so they don’t care how much upset they cause colleagues or customers”, Ryanair said. To some, that apology to passengers sounded like a threat to pilots who might take part in any strike.


At this stage, it looks like strikes might happen at any point. Some of the unions said, they intended to start their industrial action on December 20, four days before Christmas.

Many pilots flying Ryanair’s large fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft are not employed by the company directly. It looks like they will not go on strike, but only their colleagues who have work contracts with Ryanair itself.

But any strike might have consequences all over Europe. Even short interruptions of some scheduled flights might mess up the entire flight plan. Passengers and Ryanair are hoping this will not happen. The pilots involved, on the other hand, want to be paid like their colleagues at other airlines.


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About the Author

Imanuel Marcus is Associate Editor of The Sofia Globe. He is German and lives in Sofia. Contact: imanuelmarcus (at) gmail.com