By Lauren Howells

Ryanair has warned that it expects localised disruptions, as it works to finalise union discussions with pilot unions.

Following the announcement last month that Ryanair had agreed to recognise the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) to represent its UK pilots, which account for more than 25% of the airline’s pilots, the budget airline has announced that it is expecting some short-term disruptions, as it works to finalise union discussions in other countries “along similar lines to that agreed in the UK”.

“When this process has completed, we expect to have similar engagement with cabin crew unions”

Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary said:

“After 30 years of successfully dealing directly with our people it became clear in Dec. that a majority of pilots wanted to be represented by unions.  In keeping with our policy to recognise unions when the majority of our people wanted it, we have met pilot unions in Ireland, UK, Spain, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Belgium and France to discuss how we can work with them on behalf of our people.”

He added that when the process has been completed, Ryanair expects to have “similar engagement” with cabin crew unions.

“Unions will test our commitment to low cost, high pay/high productivity model”

Ryanair voiced concerns that unions in

“certain jurisdictions”, which represented competitor airlines, “will wish to test our commitment to our low cost, high pay/high productivity model to disrupt our operations”.

The airline, which has 87 bases in Europe, said it was “fully prepared to face down any such disruption” if it meant defending its cost base or high productivity model.

Outlook for the remainder of 2018 “cautious”

Ryanair expects "localised disruptions" as it recognises pilot unions

The airline also announced a 12% rise in profit to €106 million in the 3 months up until the end of December 2017. Passenger numbers in the same period also increased by 6% to 30.4 million and average fares dropped by 4% to €32 euros per customer.

It said that the outlook for the remainder of 2018 was “cautious” and that although it maintained its full-year (profit) guidance in the range of €1.40 billion to €1.45 billion, this depended “heavily” on the “absence of union disruptions, unforeseen security events and close-in Easter bookings”.

Airline says there is a “worrying risk” of “serious disruption” to UK-EU flights post Brexit

It also voiced concern at the “continuing uncertainty surrounding the terms of the UK’s proposed departure from the EU in Mar. 2019” and warned that there remained “a worrying risk of serious disruption to UK-EU flights from Apr. 2019 unless a UK-EU bilateral (or transitional arrangement) is agreed in advance of Sept. 2018”.

The airline warned that time was running out for the UK to develop and agree to these solutions and said that clarity was needed on this issue before summer 2019 schedules are published in mid-2018.