Strike action grounds Ryanair flights across Europe

  • A powerful German union has announced a 24-hour strike by Ryanair pilots beginning Friday morning.
  • Ryanair has called the strike "unjustified and unnecessary."
  • The Irish carrier has suffered a summer of industrial action across Europe.
A Ryanair plane on the tarmac in Rome.
Nicolas Economou | NurPhoto | Getty Images
A Ryanair plane on the tarmac in Rome.

Irish budget airline Ryanair will cancel 250 flights to and from Germany on Friday after German pilots announced they were joining Europe-wide strikes against the carrier's pay and conditions.

Around 400 Ryanair pilots in Germany will strike for 24 hours from Friday morning, affecting all Ryanair's outbound flights. The Vereinigung Cockpit union has apologized to affected travellers but blamed the airline's management.

Strikes planned for the day by Irish, Belgian and Swedish pilots had already taken out 146 of the airline's 2,400 scheduled flights across Europe.

Speaking at a press conference in Frankfurt on Wednesday, Ryanair's Chief Marketing Officer Kenny Jacobs said the German union should "remove the threat of an unjustified and unnecessary strike."

Jacobs said that German pilots enjoyed excellent working conditions and are paid up to 190,000 euros ($220,000) annually.

Ryanair only recognized trade unions for the first time in December 2017 and has been beset by industrial action.

Europe's largest low-cost carrier posted a record 1.45 billion euros ($1.7 billion) profit after tax in its financial year ending March 31. However, the firm has been pessimistic in its prospects for the near-term amid higher fuel costs and no fare growth.