Ryanair reconsidering base closures in Germany

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Following the news last week that the popular low-cost carrier Ryanair planned to shut its base at Frankfurt Hahn Airport with Berlin Tegel and Dusseldorf also at risk of closure, the airline says it may now reconsider this decision.

The possible u-turn on base closures in Germany comes after pilots dropped their opposition to a deal that will cut pay and change working conditions to reduce layoffs. The airline said the move means that 85% of its pilots and 75% of cabin crew across Europe have now accepted temporary cuts to pay and conditions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a call with investors Ryanair’s CEO, Michael O’Leary, was reported as saying: “When the German pilots last week rejected a pay deal, we closed three German bases. We may have to relook at that now that they accepted the deal over the weekend.”

According to Eddie Wilson, Chief Executive of Ryanair DAC, the largest part of the Ryanair Group which includes Austria’s Lauda and Poland’s Buzz, the deal is the same one that pilots initially rejected, including a pay adjustment downwards of 20% and increased scheduling flexibility.

Earlier this year Ryanair has said it plans to cut around 3,000 jobs due to the disruption caused by COVID-19, although this number could be reduced if staff accepted pay cuts. It has also said the pay cuts are due to be reversed by 2024.

Some of the airline’s regional bases in Spain and Italy are also under threat of being closed.