Ryanair to cut Dublin fleet and grow Polish airline

Ryanair has said there will be “few route closures” from Dublin despite cutting its fleet at the airport by 20 percent this winter.

Low-cost carrier Ryanair has revealed plans to cut its Dublin-based aircraft fleet from 30 to about 24 during the winter 2018-19 season.

The low-cost giant claimed the planned reduction is partly as a result of recent strikes by Irish pilots, which it said had hit bookings and consumer confidence in its Irish services.

Instead the airline will double the fleet of its Polish charter carrier Ryanair Sun to ten aircraft.

“We regret these base aircraft reductions at Dublin for winter 2018, but the board has decided to allocate more aircraft to those markets where we are enjoying strong growth (such as Poland),” chief operating officer Peter Bellew said.

“This will result in some aircraft reductions and job cuts in country markets where business has weakened, or forward bookings are being damaged by rolling strikes by Irish pilots.”

Ryanair had cautioned earlier this week that jobs could be lost after facing strikes over pay and conditions. It has now warned of possible job losses for more than 100 pilots and 200 cabin crew.

Bellew added: “Ryanair operates a fleet of over 450 aircraft from 87 bases across Europe.

“We can only do so if we continue to offer low fares, reliable flight services to our customers, and if our reputation for reliability or forward bookings is affected, then base and potential job cuts such as these at Dublin are a deeply regretted consequence.”

Ryanair has not revealed which routes from Dublin could be affected, only saying that there would be “few” closures. However, others are facing frequency reductions.

The carrier offered more than 2.6 million departure seats from Dublin in winter 2017-18, with a 41 percent capacity share of the market. In total it operated 86 routes from the base.

Last week Ryanair cancelled 16 flights, affecting 2,500 customers, following industrial action. On Monday, the airline also reported a 20 percent fall in profits to €319m for the three months to 30 June 2018.