Passengers planning to fly with low-cost carrier Ryanair face potential disruption in the build-up to Christmas after staff announce plans for industrial action in a bid to win union recognition and better conditions.

Pilots and crew announced a series of plans across Europe.

In Ireland, a total of 79 pilots based in Dublin will strike for one day on December 20th.

The figure represents nearly a third of Ryanair’s Dublin-based captains.

At the same time, Ryanair pilots and cabin crew in Italy plan to strike for four hours on December 15th.

Pilots based in Portugal and Germany also plan industrial action, while Cockpit, the German pilots’ union, said its Ryanair members would strike for better pay and conditions if the airline refused to begin talks.

However, staff in Germany vowed not to disrupt flights over Christmas.

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In a typically bullish statement Ryanair said it would deal with any such disruptions if, or when, they arise.

The carrier, however, said it apologised to customers for any upset or worry the threatened action by Dublin-based pilots may cause.

A statement from the carrier said: “Ryanair is surprised that Irish Air Line Pilots’ Association has threatened to disrupt Christmas week travel when IALPA’s own numbers confirm that it has the support of less than 28 per cent of Ryanair’s over 300 Dublin pilots and when Ryanair’s Belfast, Cork and Shannon bases have already agreed these 20 per cent pay deals.

“While some disruption may occur, Ryanair believes this will largely be confined to a small group of pilots who are working their notice and will shortly leave Ryanair, so they don’t care how much upset they cause colleagues or customers.”

Unions have long argued that their airline fails to offer pilots the same pay and conditions as rival low-cost carriers.

In September Ryanair said more than 2,000 flights would be cancelled this winter after it rearranged pilots’ rosters to comply with new aviation rules.

Later that month it announced 18,000 further flights would be cancelled over the winter season, affecting more than 700,000 passengers.

The cancellations have led to concerns over a shortage of pilots at the carrier.

Ryanair has already confirmed that any Dublin pilots who participate in this industrial action will be in breach of the Dublin base agreement and they will lose those agreed benefits which arise from dealing directly with Ryanair.

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