British people do not want to be carriers, Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has said amid a planned strike at Heathrow Airport.
The low-budget airline has not been ‘completely affected’ by the airport unrest this summer which has forced some UK airlines to cancel 1,000 flights.
Mr O’Leary said Ryanair was ready for a return to pre-Covid transport levels because it could see ‘recovery coming’ and could take advantage of the European labor market.
And he added you can’t get the British to do these jobs because they don’t want to ‘pick fruit or work with hospitality, security and baggage handling at airports’.
His comments come as more than 16,000 British Airways employees, including staff and engineers, have threatened to plunge airports and airlines into more chaos as they look to join more than 700 BA employees who have already volunteered to travel outside Heathrow.
The British people do not want to be porters, Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary (pictured) has said.
The low-budget airline has not been ‘completely affected’ by the airport unrest this summer which has forced some UK airlines to cancel 1,000 flights. Pictured: Hundreds of boxes continue to be packed at Heathrow Station 2
Passengers have for months endured entry delays, cancellations of flights and cargo problems at UK airports and yesterday saw another day of queues in Bristol, Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Heathrow.
And many airline experts have focused on recruiting after Covid as a key issue that has led to tensions between the aviation industry.
However, Ryanair appears to have escaped unscathed from the violence, according to the Telegraph.
Between May 7 and June 6, the low-cost airline was canceled three times out of its 13,099 (0.02%) flights compared to 142 out of 13,010 (1.09%) British Airways flights. While easyJet had 16,425 flights with 636 (3.87%) canceled.
Mr O’Leary told the Telegraph: ‘I am no longer campaigning for Brexit, but the UK will have to find a way to open up the Labor market between Britain and Europe, to get people here to do jobs that the British people really do not want to do.
‘They don’t want to reap fruit, they don’t want to do agricultural work, they don’t want to do hospitality or protection or take care of luggage at airports.’
Although those returning to the UK also faced possible inconvenience when Ryanair cabinet staff embarked on a three-day tour of Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain yesterday.
Mr O’Leary’s comments come as more than 16,000 British Airways crew members, including workers and engineers, threaten to plunge airports and airlines into more chaos. Pictured: BA plane taking off
The biggest impact was seen in Belgium, where a suspension of work prompted Europe’s largest budget airline to cancel 127 flights to and from Charleroi airport near Brussels between Friday and Sunday.
Ryanair can only guarantee 30 to 40 percent of its planned flights at the airport, said a Brussels South Charleroi airport spokesman.
In response Mr O’Leary said cabinet workers who are paid an annual salary of £ 24,000 and £ 45,000 are ‘happy’ to return to work and ‘work after Covid-19’.
He added: ‘Everyone can afford to pay his taxes. The idea that people are paid a minimum wage or not paid for air travel – is a total waste.
‘He ignores potential disruptions that affect “less than one percent” of company operations across Europe.’
More than 700 entrance workers and Heathrow area operators voted for a series of industrial action on pay. The GMB and Unite trade unions are expected to set strike dates for July 22, when school breaks begin.
LONDON STANSTED AIRPORT – A busy London Stansted in Essex yesterday morning as people queue to leave the airport
Nadine Houghton, a GMB national official, said: ‘With bad forecasts, vacationers are facing considerable inconvenience due to the perception of British Airways pigs.
‘BA have tried to give our members crumbs from the table through a 10% instant bonus payment, but this does not diminish the mustard.
‘Our members need to be reimbursed for the 10% they had stolen last year in full payment and a 10 percent bonus that some of our colleagues have been paid.
‘GMB members in Heathrow have suffered tremendously in the face of transport unrest caused by staff shortages and IT failures.’
And Unite hopes to add another 16,000 BA staff, including cabinet workers to engineers, to the strike stage.
The BA dispute is about a 10 per cent cut-off payment that incoming workers and landlords took during Covid while airlines tried to stay afloat. Trade unions demand full reimbursement amid life pressure and an increase in the number of passengers.
MANCHESTER AIRPORT – Passengers lined up to enter Manchester Terminal 2 Airport yesterday as unrest continues at the airport
A Unite spokesman said, according to The Sun, management of ‘British Airways’ could no longer ignore public dissatisfaction with their own employees, in a way that ignored the needs of their own customers.
‘BA customers know firsthand that the airline is in turmoil and that service standards are suffering as a direct result of its previous’ firefighting and re-rental’ policies.
“Employees are no longer willing to make excuses, or pay costs for poor management decisions.”
GMB also said it had begun a consultation process with thousands of BA staff, including engineers and telephone station staff.
A formal vote for strike action will begin in a few weeks if adequate support is registered.
It increases the likelihood of summer disruption to a greater extent, as it includes staff at Gatwick and Heathrow airports.
GMB and Unite only vowed to suspend the move if BA fulfilled their demand within a week or so. If the BA tour continues, families may be forced to cancel or cancel holidays – and face strands abroad if home flights are banned.
Trade unions should give only two weeks’ notice of the strike. Customers whose flights have been suspended will be eligible for a refund or re-reservation for alternative flights on the day of departure, even if they are a competitor.
But with airlines reducing their schedules due to staff shortages and restrictions on flying to the airport, it is unclear if there would be enough seats. It will bring a major financial blow to BA, which lost billions of pounds in the disaster.
Some 550 BA flights per day take off and land at Heathrow, but this is expected to increase in the summer – and the airline is now planning emergency plans to put as many flights as possible on strike days.
About half of these are short-distance and the other half long – and the move threatens to reduce hundreds of flights in total.
LONDON HEATHROW AIRPORT – The second stop at Heathrow Airport was busy yesterday morning as the British tried to fly out of the country.
Downing Street said the strike action would increase the ‘trouble’ of passengers at airports and called on BA to put in place emergency measures.
A spokesman for number 10 said: “Certainly this is a matter for British Airways and trade unions and we would strongly urge both of you to come together to find a solution.
“We do not want to see any inconvenience to passengers and the strike action will only exacerbate the plight of travelers at airports.
‘DfT (Department of Transport) will obviously work closely to see what emergency measures BA can put in place and we hope BA will put in place emergency measures to ensure that there is minimal disruption, and where there is disruption then passengers can. refunds’.
The BA statement said: ‘We are deeply saddened by the results and that the unions have chosen to take this step.
‘Despite the hardships and losses of more than £ 4 billion, we made a 10 percent payout which was accepted by many of our colleagues.
“We are fully committed to working together to find a solution, because in order to provide services to our customers and rebuild our business we must work as a team.
‘Of course we will inform our customers about what this means for them as the situation progresses.’
EasyJet operations in Spain are also facing a nine-day strike next month.