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FLYING LOW

Ryanair warns there could be more strikes as it issues profit warning

The company has struggled with staff walkouts since it bowed to pressure to recognise trade unions for the first time last December

RYANAIR warned passengers could still face more strikes as they posted a profit warning this morning.

The low-cost airline cut its forecast for full-year profit by 12 per cent on Monday and said worse may be to come if recent coordinated strikes across Europe continue to hit traffic and bookings.

 Ryanair cut its forecast for full-year profit by 12 per cent and said worse may be to come if recent coordinated strikes across Europe continue to hit traffic and bookings
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Ryanair cut its forecast for full-year profit by 12 per cent and said worse may be to come if recent coordinated strikes across Europe continue to hit traffic and bookings

The company has struggled with staff walkouts since it bowed to pressure to recognise trade unions for the first time last December, and unrest has escalated in recent months as it makes slow progress in talks with some unions.

The Irish carrier also blamed the cost of stubbornly high fuel prices.

The Irish airline now expects profit for the year, excluding start up losses in Laudamotion, to come in at 1.10-1.20 billion euros (£980million - £1.07billion), compared with its prior forecast of 1.25-1.35 billion euros (1.1billion - £1.2billion).

During the announcement, Ryanair said that it could not rule out further strikes, which may require full-year profit forecasts to be lowered again and further cuts to its loss-making winter capacity.

 The company has struggled with staff walkouts since it bowed to pressure to recognise trade unions for the first time last December
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The company has struggled with staff walkouts since it bowed to pressure to recognise trade unions for the first time last December

For passengers, that means the possibility of flight cancellations from certain airports.

To cope with the lower fares, higher oil prices and strike costs, Ryanair is cutting some routes, trimming its winter capacity by one per cent by closing its Eindhoven base in the Netherlands and its Bremen in Germany, as well as cutting flights to its Niederrhein base in Germany.

While Ryanair's Michael O'Leary said the company was able to manage initial smaller strikes, two coordinated walkouts since August in Portugal, Germany, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands hit passenger numbers, last minute bookings, yields and forward air fares.

Those strikes, which also spread to some staff in Sweden and Italy, disrupted the plans of more than 100,000 customers.

During last Friday's strike, more than 40,000 passengers were affected by walkouts in Germany, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal and Italy over pay and working conditions.

Flights were still being cancelled on Friday morning, with travellers only being notified at the boarding gate.