Ryanair pilots get backing from Southwest pilots union
Pilots at Ryanair got a boost in their bid to unionise from counterparts at Southwest Airlines, the US carrier that provided a blueprint for Europe’s biggest discount operator.
As the crisis surrounding the cancellation of 20,000 flights continues, the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association is ready to help its Ryanair colleagues, offering to host meetings as well as provide assets and resources, said union president Jon Weaks. “I’m preparing a letter to send offering support,” said Weaks, whose union represents 8,700 pilots. “We’re on standby to help them.”
The backing from flight crew at the biggest US discounter follows an offer of legal, organisational and financial assistance from American Airlines Group’s Allied Pilots Association last week. The involvement of Southwest is symbolically significant as Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary used the company’s business model as a template after taking the top job in 1994.
Weaks said he is willing to travel to Ireland to meet with Ryanair’s pilots, although no financial assistance has yet been offered and his union’s involvement remains preliminary.–