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Strikes loom at Ryanair over closure of Canaries bases

Ryanair passengers could face industrial unrest soon.
Ryanair passengers could face industrial unrest soon. / EFE
  • Spanish-based staff are against the airline reducing its presence on the islands, and the action comes on top of planned UK pilot stoppages

Spanish-based cabin crew at Ryanair have carried out their threat and announced planned strike action for several days in September. As yet, it is not known which flights into Spain from other countries would be affected. The planned dates are; 1, 2, 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27 and 28 September.

The crew want to strike over Ryanair's plans to close its aircraft and crew bases at Tenerife South and Las Palmas airports on the Canary Islands. Tourist industry leaders on the Canaries have also expressed their concern at the decision as the airline handled 3.7 million passengers across the two airports in 2018. This number could fall if the base is closed, but it would not mean that routes would be axed, according to the airline.

Tenerife hoteliers said that the closure of the bases, "could cause prices to go up". Norwegian also said earlier this year that it planned to close its Canaries bases, before reversing its decision. The islands have been suffering extra competition recently from stronger markets in Turkey and Greece, with arrivals falling seven per cent year-on-year in June.

Sources believe that Ryanair may reverse its decision and that it is looking for marketing subsidies with public money to continue.

Ryanair is also studying closing its Girona base in Catalonia, blaming a delay in delivery of Boeing 727 Max aircraft, which have been held up in the recent safety scare.

Ryanair's UK-based pilots are also planning strikes on 22 and 23 August and 2-4 September over working conditions. Flights operated to the UK by Spanish-based flight crews would likely be less affected, and passengers were advised this week not to change travel plans in case strike action was cancelled.