Spanish Ryanair staff begin five months of strike amid travel unrest across Europe

Travelers at Terminal 2 at El Prat Airport in Barcelona on July 12 (AFP via Getty Images)

Travelers at Terminal 2 at El Prat Airport in Barcelona on July 12 (AFP via Getty Images)

Ryanair staff in Spain have launched a series of strikes set to last five months as industrial action causes pain for millions of summer holidaymakers across Europe.

Cabin staff have announced that they will stage walkouts every week between Monday and Thursday from August 8 to January 7 to press for higher wages and better working conditions.

Ten airports are expected to be affected by the strikes: Alicante, Barcelona, ​​Girona, Ibiza, Madrid, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca, Santiago de Compostela, Seville and Valencia.

It follows strikes in July when Ryanair workers walked out for several days at a number of Spanish airports.

In a statement, Ryanair said the strikes “have had little or no impact on Ryanair flights to or from Spain”.

In July alone, Ryanair operated over 3,000 daily flights and carried a record 16.8 million passengers – many of them to/from Spain. Ryanair expects these latest threatened strikes, involving just a handful of our Spanish cabin crew, to have zero impact on our Spanish flights or timetables in August or September, a spokesperson said.

A Ryanair employee holds flyers as they protest at Barcelona airport on July 1 (AFP via Getty Images)

A Ryanair employee holds flyers as they protest at Barcelona airport on July 1 (AFP via Getty Images)

After widespread job cuts and pay cuts as Covic-19 halted travel, employees across the industry, from pilots to baggage handlers, are calling for big pay rises and better working conditions.

The disputes have sparked a wave of industrial action that threatens to cause travel chaos for holidaymakers flying on summer holidays across the continent.

EASYJET

Spain-based pilots at Easyjet said on July 29 they would strike for nine days in August.

The Spanish Union of Airline Pilots said there will be three 72-hour strikes from 12-14, 19-21. and 27-29

The pilots will strike from bases in Barcelona, ​​Malaga and Palma.

Meanwhile, Spanish cabin crew suspended the strike planned for 29-31. July after they reached an agreement with the company. The workers went on strike earlier in July, first on 1-3. July and again 15-17 July, which led to some flight cancellations and delays for the low-cost airline.

PORTUGUESE AIRPORTS

Portugal’s civil aviation workers have threatened to go on strike on 19-21. August. Two unions representing workers accused airport operator ANA, which manages 10 airports in Portugal, and French group Vinci, which controls ANA, of making several million euros in net profits but not paying decent wages to workers.

AIR HANSA

Pilots at the German flagship voted on 31 July for industrial action. Pilot union board member VC said the vote did not necessarily mean a strike and they were ready to negotiate.

The VC is demanding a 5.5% pay rise this year for its pilots and automatic inflation compensation thereafter. Lufthansa’s CEO said on August 4 that the airline had set dates to negotiate with pilots in the following week.

Passengers queue under a screen announcing canceled flights in the Lufthansa terminal at Franz-Josef-Strauss Airport in Munich during a strike by the airline's ground staff on July 27 (AFP via Getty Images)

Passengers queue under a screen announcing canceled flights in the Lufthansa terminal at Franz-Josef-Strauss Airport in Munich during a strike by the airline’s ground staff on July 27 (AFP via Getty Images)

The airline reached an agreement with ground staff on August 4, after a strike on July 27 forced it to cancel more than 1,000 flights. The agreement includes a salary increase of 200 euros a month from 1 July this year, plus an increase of 2.5% or at least 125 euros a month from 1 January next year and another 2.5% from 1 July 2023.

REDUCED SUMMER PLANS

Airlines including British Airways, Lufthansa, easyJet, KLM and Wizz Air have cut thousands of flights from their summer schedules to cope with the disruption, while major airports including Heathrow and Amsterdam’s Schiphol have restricted passenger traffic.

British Airways halted ticket sales on short-haul flights departing from Heathrow until mid-August, following the airport’s decision to limit capacity. The airline’s website showed no tickets for flights before August 16 to popular European destinations including Paris, Milan and Amsterdam.

On 2 August, Schiphol extended the passenger cap it had introduced earlier to cope with long waiting times and other logistical problems into September and October.

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