Strikes hit Ryanair for €4bn

Strikes hit Ryanair for €4bn

Eamon Quinn

Shares in Ryanair surged 5.5% as investors hailed the potential for a peace plan with its pilots at its home Irish base, but the rash of strikes and disruption has still cost the airline over €4bn in lost market value in little over nine months.

The shares surged to close at €13.87, valuing the airline at €15.85bn, after the Irish pilots union Fórsa and the airline signalled a breakthrough in their marathon talks that had escalated during the summer — the peak and most profitable season for Ryanair.

But the shares have collapsed from a high of €18.59 reached this time last year, meaning that around a quarter of its market value, or €4bn, has been wiped out in the past year.

In contrast, Aer Lingus- owner IAG shares have surged 19% and those of EasyJet have climbed 26% in the past year.

Ryanair endured its worst one-day strike earlier in August after a walk-out by pilots in five European countries disrupted the plans of an estimated 55,000 people at the height of the summer holiday season.

That included a fifth 24-hour walkout of the summer by around a quarter of its pilots here that prompted Ryanair to propose fresh talks.

“The proposed agreement will now go to ballot, with a recommendation for acceptance from Fórsa and its Ryanair pilot representatives,” pilots’ union Fórsa said.

Ryanair said it would take the proposals to its board after the Irish-based pilots had voted on the agreement.

Some of the other trade unions stuck in negotiations around Europe have said they are watching the Irish talks closely, although Dutch pilots’ union VNV saw little read across, saying the Irish agreement did not appear to cover all the issues at stake, and was limited to base transfers and promotions.

- Additional reporting Reuters

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