Ryanair has dismissed claims from a European pilots’ union that its decision to close bases and reduce fleet from early next month is a “declaration of war”.
At the start of October, the airline announced that it was trimming its winter 2018 capacity, closing its Eindhoven and Bremen bases and cutting its five aircraft at its Niederrhein base to three from November 5.
Last week, the European Cockpit Association (ECA) said the development would seriously exacerbate the recent deterioration in the relationship between the airline and its pilots and cabin crew which had led to the strikes.
The ECA’s president Dirk Polloczek said the “hostility” from Ryanair management would not be tolerated.
However, yesterday Ryanair dismissed, what it said were, false claims of the ECA and its pilot unions “who falsely claim that Ryanair’s base closures are a ‘punishment’ rather than a sensible response to deteriorating market conditions characterised by higher oil prices and declining air fares”.
Ryanair pointed out that: “In recent weeks Lufthansa closed its Dusseldorf base Wizz closed its Poznan base, Norwegian closed Belfast and Edinburgh, EasyJet has cut two aircraft from its Porto base, and all airlines are trimming flights and routes this winter as oil prices escalate to $85pbl, and all airlines report a weakening fare environment.”
Kenny Jacobs of Ryanair said: “The ECA and these pilot unions are silent when Lufthansa, Wizz, and Norwegian close bases or cut schedules.
“They are also silent to the reality of Small Planet (Ger) and Primera going bankrupt in recent weeks causing hundreds of job losses.”
He said the closure of the two Ryanair bases and reduction from five to three aircraft in another “is a small but necessary response to these adverse circumstances”.