Ryanair is widely known for being Europe’s biggest ultra-low-cost carrier. Now, it looks as though the airline could be aiming to become an ultra-ultra-low-cost airline with the introduction of Ryanair Sun. Ryanair Sun is Ryanair’s Polish subsidiary. While still being Ryanair, it is not recognising many of the recent changes that the unions have fought for. The airline has also reportedly forced some of its Irish pilots to transfer to the new operation in Poland. With relatively little competition in the East of Europe, Ryanair is looking to capitalise on the gap in the market.
About Ryanair Sun
Ryanair Sun was formed by Ryanair earlier this year in April. The airline began operations as a charter airline in Poland, however, now operates on behalf of the main Ryanair Company. Ryanair closed their Polish bases in September 2018 until January 2019. Ryanair staff were made redundant in Dublin and Warsaw to facilitate the change. 20% of the airlines Dublin based fleet was transferred to Poland. As such, 100 Dublin based pilots were told to move to Poland or lose their jobs.
In Warsaw, the story was slightly different. Ryanair’s cabin crew and pilots were made redundant. They were told to apply to a company called Warsaw Aviation as self-employed contractors. Warsaw Aviation was then to hire these staff out to Ryanair Sun.
How Does This Make Flying Cheaper?
Quite simply, making the staff in Poland self-employed has taken away a number of their rights. Specifically, this includes a number of the rights that union strikes have worked to secure over the summer. As self-employed crew members, Ryanair Sun is not liable to pay staff sick pay if they are unable to work. Additionally, the right to unionisation is not available to self-employed staff. However, the airline’s contracts with self-employed staff are reportedly under investigation. Poland has a law stating that individual contractors are allowed to join unions. As such, the Polish Authorities are investigating the situation.
Philip von Schöppenthau, secretary general of the European Cockpit Association, gave Reuters a comment:
“On the one hand, Ryanair is busy reaching out to the unions to show a new socially responsible face. But at the same time, they are busy working in the opposite direction building up a potentially union-free company, Ryanair Sun.”
Ryanair experiences very little ultra-low-cost competition in the East of Europe. Only Wizz Air will pose the airline any competition. As such, Ryanair is heavily investing in the region, in hopes of driving passenger traffic.
What do you make of Ryanair Sun’s low-cost tactics? Let us know in the comments down below!