Ryanair reaches deal with Irish pilots, sending stock higher

By BLOOMBERG

LONDON • Ryanair Holdings plc reached a new labour deal with protesting Irish pilots after a marathon negotiating session, pointing to the end of a dispute that’s disrupted travel for thousands of passengers across Europe.

Shares of Ryanair rose the most in three months in Dublin, where the company is based, following 22 hours of discussions that finished early yesterday. The accord will now be put to a ballot of pilots, with the Forsa labour group, which led the talks, recommending that they accept it.

A settlement in Ireland is seen as key to resolving a wider dispute at Ryanair, as it was staff in the carrier’s home country who initiated a near year-long push for better employment terms. The Irish pilots last walked out on Aug 10 in an action that also involved crews from Germany, Belgium, Sweden and the Netherlands, causing more than 400 flights to be scrapped.

The breakthrough marks the first collective labour agreement at Europe’s biggest discount airline since it agreed to accept unionisation amid a staff-rostering crisis at the end of last year.

Ryanair shares advanced as much as 6%, their biggest intraday jump since May 21. The stock was trading 5.5% higher at €13.87 (RM66) as of 9:03am in the Irish capital yesterday.

The Irish discussions focused on promotion, annual leave and Ryanair’s ability to switch pilots between its different bases, as well as pay.