Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair’s board today (25 July) approved a plan to cut its Dublin based fleet from 30 to (at most) 24 aircraft for the winter 2018 season.
The airline said the reductions have been driven by the rapid growth of Ryanair’s Polish charter airline, which is growing profitably in 2018, allied to a down turn in forward bookings and airfares in Ireland.
The move is also partly down to the recent rolling strikes by Irish pilots, which has had a negative effect on (close-in) high fare bookings and forward air fares as consumer confidence in the reliability of its Irish flight schedules have been disturbed.
Ryanair’s Polish airline, Ryanair Sun, will now offer over 10 aircraft to Polish tour operators, more than double the five aircraft offered in summer 2018
The carrier said it expects few route closures from Dublin, although some routes may suffer frequency reductions.
In the light of these Dublin base cuts, Ryanair has issued letters of (90 days) protective notice to over 100 pilots and over 200 cabin crew employees, whose services may not be required from 28 October onwards, due to this 20 per cent reduction in the Dublin fleet.
Ryanair said it will now begin the consultations with its people on redundancy, which, if redundancies are necessary, will be determined by Ryanair’s assessment of flight performance, productivity, attendances, and base transfer requests.
The carrier will be offering transfers to Poland (and possibly some other bases) to these Dublin-based pilots and cabin crew employees for winter 2018 in order to minimise any redundancies.
Ryanair’s chief operating officer, Peter Bellew said: “We regret these base aircraft reductions at Dublin for Winter 2018, but the Board has decided to allocate more aircraft to those markets where we are enjoying strong growth (such as Poland), and this will result in some aircraft reductions and job cuts in country markets where business has weakened, or forward bookings are being damaged by rolling strikes by Irish pilots.
“Ryanair operates a fleet of over 450 aircraft from 87 bases across Europe. We can only do so if we continue to offer low fares, reliable flight services to our customers, and if our reputation for reliability or forward bookings is affected, then base and potential job cuts such as these at Dublin are a deeply regretted consequence.”