Ryanair launches legal battle to stop pilot strike amid travel chaos fears

Tom Belger
Finance and policy reporter
Ryanair has launched a legal bid to stop strike action. Photo: PA

Ryanair (RYA.L) has launched a last-ditch legal bid to stop a strike by its pilots in a row over pay and conditions, which could cause significant disruption for holidaymakers.

The high court in London will hear the case on Wednesday, after the airline sought an injunction just hours before the strike is due.

The strike is set to take place on Thursday and Friday, with fears it could leave travellers unable to fly if Ryanair cannot make alternative arrangements. A further walkout could take place in September.

Members of the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) union are set to walk out, and claimed earlier this week the airline “has wasted time with unnecessary court action” and “relying on legal technicalities.”

Balpa pilots voted by four to one to back a campaign of action on a 72% turnout.

Ryanair said in a statement on Tuesday: “Balpa, who represent a small number of highly paid UK pilots should not be disrupting the return holiday flights of UK families later this week when Ryanair captains already earn £180,000 per annum and are now seeking unjustified pay increases of between 65% to 121%.”

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There is confusion about what the strike will mean for flights and the extent of any possible cancellations or delays, with the union warning the airline should be transparent with passengers.

Balpa general secretary Brian Strutton said: “It’s also worrying to see Ryanair continue to sell tickets for strike days – are they prepared to offer compensation to passengers if they are affected?

“I think they should tell passengers exactly where they stand.”

Ryanair has also tried to secure a high court order in Ireland to stop about 180 Ireland-based pilots from going on a 48-hour walkout from midnight on Thursday.