Despite ongoing strikes, RyanAir reports 170 million euro profit
It seems to be going in the right direction again with Ryanair. From April to June, the low-cost airline posted a profit of 170 million euro. Also, the strike wave that the airline had to deal with seems gradually under control, although the Belgian staff continues to 'resist'.
In the first quarter of 2021, when travel was still restricted due to the corona pandemic, Ryanair still posted a loss of 273 million euro. With a profit of 170 million euro in the first quarter of this fiscal year, the low-cost airline is doing better than expected, as analysts estimated a profit of 150 million euro. Before the corona pandemic, in 2019-2020, the low-cost carrier's profit was still 243 million euro.
Ryanair says there are clear signs of 'pent-up demand', with bookings closer to the travel date than before the pandemic. However, the second half of its financial year is still unclear, with possible losses looming. Nevertheless, with low fares, Ryanair hopes to attract another 165 million passengers this year. "The recovery over the winter is fragile and dependent on how the news around COVID and Ukraine develops," says CFO Neil Sorahan.
Ryanair also says its strategy of negotiating wage cuts with unions during the Corona crisis is now paying off. The low-cost carrier says it has the staff it needs to cope with the recovery, unlike its competitors, who have let many staff go.
The Belgian staff, however, remains a thorn in the side. Last weekend there was another strike, causing flights at Brussels Airport and Charleroi Airport to be cancelled. The problems at Ryanair have been dragging on for a long time and dissatisfaction remains high, because the management does not respond to the questions of the staff. It was already the third time in three months that part of the Ryanair-staff went on strike.
According to the local staff, Belgian labour law is not respected. The unions complain, among other things, that Ryanair has no personnel department in Belgium that is aware of the local social legislation. Despite the repeated actions, Ryanair is not impressed. In a reaction to the recent actions, the company refers, among other things, to the agreement that it was able to conclude with pilot unions in Spain and France on Thursday. "Maybe the Belgian unions should explain why they refuse to do that?"
After months of difficult negotiations, the Irish airline reached an agreement with the Spanish and French pilot unions. The agreements include wage increases and last for five years. According to the airline, agreements have now been reached with 85 percent of pilots on an accelerated wage recovery and better conditions in the longer term.
"In Belgium, however, the situation is as fixed as can be. Ryanair communicates very aggressively, the company's strategy is to intimidate", Hans Elsen of the Christian trade union ACV told De Standaard a few days ago. "There has been no contact in recent days, let alone dialogue. They have only sent a threatening letter to the trade union representatives. But at some point, they will have to get round the table. Ryanair also understands that this period with successive strikes is not tenable".
Illustration picture shows Ryanair planes on the tarmac of the departure hall of Brussels Airport, in Zaventem, Saturday 23 July 2022. Some 80 flights have been cancelled in Belgium. It concerns flights with a Belgian crew. The other flights depart with a crew from countries where there is no strike. The reasons for this weekend's strike are the same as those for the action at the end of June. The pilots feel misunderstood and expect a pay increase after a 20 percent surrender during the corona crisis.
© BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK