Ryanair shares fail to take off

Ryanair shares fail to take off

By Geoff Percival

Ryanair shares failed to take off, yesterday, despite the airline making further progress towards ending employee union troubles across its European network, this time in Spain.

Ryanair has agreed to recognise the Spanish pilots’ union SEPLA and expects to start talks on a collective labour agreement in early November, the company said.

Its share price, however — down around 20% this year — fell by nearly 0.7%.

The airline has struggled with labour relations since it bowed to pressure to recognise unions for the first time almost a year ago. Labour tensions contributed to a rare profit warning this month, and the prospect of worse to come if strikes continue.

On Friday, Ryanair said it had reached an agreement with British, Portuguese and Italian pilots on contentious seniority and home base issues.

“These signed agreements with our pilot unions in Spain, Portugal, the UK and Italy again demonstrate the considerable progress we’re making in concluding union agreements with our people in our major EU markets,” Ryanair’s chief people officer Eddie Wilson said yesterday.

“We expect that these agreements will encourage the cabin crew unions in both Spain and Portugal in particular to remove competitor airline employees who have been blocking progress,” he said.

Cabin crew in Spain and Portugal took part in a walkout across six European countries last month that disrupted the plans of more than 40,000 passengers in one of Ryanair’s worse strikes to date.

Earlier this week Ryanair followed up on the aforementioned profit warning by reporting a 7% year-on-year fall in first half post-tax profits to €1.2bn.

Despite this, revenue, for the six months to the end of September grew by 8% to €4.79bn.

The ancillary-driven revenue growth, however, was eaten into by higher fuel, staff and passenger costs.

Ryanair also warned of further base closures and capacity cuts in the coming months if oil prices continue to rise and air fares continue to fall.

Additional reporting Reuters

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