Ryanair’s Spanish Pilots Now Reportedly Considering Strike Action


More bad news for budget airline Ryanair as Spanish pilot’s union SEPLA is considering strike action in response to the possible dismissal of 100 pilots. SEPLA received news from the airline on Wednesday that there would be pilot cutbacks as well as possible closure of bases at Tenerife South, Las Palmas and Girona.

Ryanair CO2
With around 420 aircraft, Ryanair’s is one of the biggest fleets in Europe. Photo: Ryanair

SEPLA says that it will now examine what action it could take, including strikes saying:

“The pilots’ union is not willing to accept that dismissals occur [as they would be] the product of nefarious management by Ryanair“.

CEO of Ryanair, Michael O’Leary recently announced that the airline had a surplus of roughly 900 staff members. He later clarified the statement, saying it was around 500 pilots and 400 cabin crew. This surplus of staff would be cut at the end of the summer. According to O’Leary, this surplus is a result of higher staff retention in combination with delays to its Boeing 737 Max jets getting into service.

Union conflict

This latest announcement by SEPLA is just the latest news from a long and ongoing dispute with the union regarding working terms for its pilots. According to FlightGlobal, although a recognition agreement with the union was signed by Ryanair earlier in the year, there have not been any results. SEPLA now accuses the airline of negotiating in bad faith:

“The negotiations, which to date have been carried out with absolute slowness and lack of willingness to negotiate by Ryanair, are now contaminated by this unexpected announcement of dismissals,”

Unfortunately, this news comes after the announcement of planned strikes by Ryanair’s UK pilots who are a part of BALPA – the British pilot’s union. The first strike will last for 48 hours, taking place on the 22nd to 23rd August. The second strike will last 60 hours and run from the 2nd to the 4th of September.

Ryanair fought back regarding the voting numbers released by BALPA. It emphasizes that only a portion of Ryanair pilots belong to the union:


“We are disappointed that the pilots union BALPA, is threatening to disrupt our customers travel plans during late August, early September, when it has the support of less than 30% of Ryanair’s UK pilots.”

The airline goes on to defend itself and its treatment of its UK pilots by saying that last year, Ryanair’s UK pilots agreed a 20% salary increase, with Senior Captain’s earning up to £180,000 p.a., which is more than competitor airline pilots in Norwegian or Jet2.

Ryanair COO Peter Bellew Resign
The airline says it has a surplus of roughly 900 staff. Photo: Ryanair

Irish pilots next

Members of IALPA – the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association have been voting on possible industrial action. This includes a possible strike, in their own dispute over pay.

The result of their ballot is due today. This raises the possibility that Irish Ryanair pilots who are with the union could strike later this month. This is of course in addition to the UK pilots. Furthermore, Portuguese cabin crew are also pursuing their own separate claims against the company, according to The Irish Times.


IALPA is obliged to serve seven days notice to the company before any strike action would happen.


We will keep our website updated on the latest news regarding all of Ryanair’s labor disputes. Especially regarding the results of upcoming ballots and job action.

We reached out to Ryanair for comment regarding this specific industrial action news with SEPLA. At the time of publishing this article, we have yet to hear back.

Ryanair Boeing 737 MAX Rebrand
Ryanair is expecting 135 new Boeing 737 MAX 200 aircraft. Photo: Ryanair