Ryanair has lost its High Court bid in London to stop strike action by some of its British pilots on Thursday and Friday.
A hearing seeking an injunction preventing the walkouts was thrown out on Wednesday afternoon.
Justice Lambert DBE rejected Ryanair’s arguments and ruled the British Airline Pilots Association’s (BALPA) industrial action ballot and procedures were lawful.
Ryanair said it expects to operate a full flight schedule on both days but said it could not rule out some delays and cancellations.
Earlier on Wednesday, the airline won a separate legal battle in the Irish High Court to prevent its Irish pilots from striking on the same days.
BALPA general secretary, Brian Strutton, said: “Ryanair was foolish to bring this into the High Court rather than the negotiating room. We offered to meet Ryanair management at ACAS to negotiate a resolution, but instead they attempted a legal bludgeon. That’s backfired.
“However, we are clear that we want to settle the dispute and bring about a change in Ryanair for the better.
“Pilots at Ryanair are seeking the same kind of policies and agreements that exist in other airlines – our demands are not unreasonable. We want to address issues like pensions; loss of licence insurance; maternity benefits; allowances; and harmonise pay across the UK in a fair, transparent, and consistent structure.
“We hope that Ryanair will take up our offer of a way forward this evening so we can call off this action. We urge Ryanair to change their attitude to dealing with us, and adopt a constructive approach.
“In the event that Ryanair rejects our overture and therefore the action over the next two days does go ahead, we apologise to the passengers who will be affected. Such action could have been avoided if Ryanair adopts a different approach.”
A statement from the airline said: “Ryanair regrets the decision by less than 30% of our highly paid UK pilots to vote for strikes on Thurs 22nd & Fri 23rd August, in support of unreasonable pay demands that captains pay be doubled from a current £170,000 p.a. to over £375,700 p.a., just 9 weeks before Brexit, which could severely damage Ryanair’s business and UK pilot jobs.
“Ryanair applied today to the London High Court for an injunction to prevent this unjustified strike by a small number of pilots going ahead during the last week of the UK school holidays.
“However thanks to the great work and volunteerism of the vast majority of our UK based pilots, Ryanair now expects to operate its full schedule of flights to/from our UK airports on Thurs 22nd and Fri 23rd. We do not expect significant disruptions on Thurs or Friday, however we cannot rule out some small flight delays and/or flight changes. We are working hard with our pilot teams to minimise any such delays for our customers and their families.”
The carrier said all passengers scheduled to travel should arrive at their departure airport as normal.