European ULCC Ryanair has threatened closures in Spain and Italy should union talks fail to yield an agreement.
On Monday, controversial CEO Michael O’Leary told investors that the carrier was “looking at base closures in Spain where, for the moment, the unions have not yet agreed to the pay cuts we need”.
While the airline came to blows with the Spanish Union of Airline Pilots (SEPLA) prior to the outbreak in September, the coronavirus downturn has compounded tensions with cabin crew and ground staff – with unions alleging the company’s cut-throat approach to cost savings has spilled over into employee relations.
While Ryanair job loss figures still fall short of the 3,000 the company had envisaged in May, these have largely been avoided through temporary pay cuts of up to 20 per cent.
In Britain, 96 per cent of Ryanair members signed off on the pay cuts, which British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) representatives said was “the right thing to do” in the circumstances. In Germany, however, the proposal has been roundly rejected – with national airline union Vereinigung Cockpit stating “less than half of pilots were in favour of accepting” a deal.
On 21 July, Ryanair announced that it was axing operations at Frankfurt Hahn Airport. The airline has since stated that hubs at Berlin Tegel and Dusseldorf airports may close by the summer unless the deal is agreed to.
Since restarting flights on 1 July, Ryanair is now operating around 40 per cent of its fleet capacity to 90 per cent of its network. The company reported a loss €185 million during the first quarter of its financial year.