THOUSANDS of air passengers are facing fresh travel misery as Ryanair pilots announced a 48-hour strike.
Flights between the UK and Ireland could be heavily impacted after Irish pilots for the budget airline tonight confirmed they would walk out ahead of the Bank Holiday on August 22 and 23.
Strikes planned by Heathrow Airport workers on the same dates were postponed earlier today after a new pay offer was put on the table.
The Ryanair walkout comes as strike dates were announced for British pilots for September 1, 2, 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27 and 28 after the airline announced closure of its two bases in the Canary Islands.
Their union served strike notice on the company this evening, and said Ryanair pilots would notify the company of further strike days in due course.
The move comes after 94 per cent of directly-employed Ryanair pilots, who are members of the IALPA, voted to back industrial action in a long-running dispute over pay, working conditions and related issues.
Ryanair say the strike could disrupt the plans of "thousands of holidaymakers" and called for pilots and their union to return to independent mediation.
Chief People Officer Eddie Wilson described the pilots' demands as "grossly unreasonable".
"We have done everything in our power to avoid disruption to our flights and our customers’ holidays.
"Ryanair pilots who are already among the best paid workers in Ireland are now threatening to disrupt the holiday travel plans of thousands of customers over the coming weeks as they demand that their pay be increased from €172,000 p.a. to over €347,000 p.a. that would see them earn more than the President of Ireland or our Taoiseach, even as Norwegian makes all of its Dublin pilots redundant."
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