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Spanish cabin crew strike forces minimal Ryanair cancellations

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Spanish cabin crew strike forces minimal Ryanair cancellations
FILE PHOTO: A Ryanair Boeing 737-800 aircraft approaches Paris-Beauvais airport in Tille, northern France, September 27, 2018. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann   -   Copyright  Christian Hartmann(Reuters)
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DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ryanair <RYA.I> has cancelled less than one percent of its daily schedule of flights to and from Spain over the first two days of planned strikes by Spanish cabin crew, the low cost carrier said on Thursday.

Unions representing cabin crew announced the plans to hold 10 days of strikes throughout September unless Ryanair changes plans to close several bases in the country. They will be joined by Spanish pilots for five days towards the end of the month.

The action follows strikes this month by unions in Britain and Portugal, the fist unrest the airline has faced in a year. The strikes however have so far caused nowhere near as much damage as last year after Ryanair ran a full schedule with few delays in both countries.

More widespread strikes over pay and conditions a year ago forced Ryanair to cancel hundreds of flights, hitting its profits in the busy summer months.

Ryanair has said it does not expect a second strike by some of its pilots in Britain to disrupt its UK schedule on Sept. 2, 3 and 4, one day of which coincides with the action in Spain.

Ryanair cancelled six of its 950 daily flights to and from Spain on Sept. 1 and eight on Sept. 2, and said that the closure of loss making winter bases in the Canary Islands – which it has blamed on delays in the delivery of the grounded Boeing 737 MAX – will not be reversed because of “pointless strikes”.

All affected customers have been notified and offered either a refund or the option to move their flights free of charge, it added.

Spanish union USO said its representatives will meet with Ryanair in Madrid to try to negotiate before the first day of strikes. Ryanair said it remained open to engaging with the unions.

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin in Dublin and Emma Pinedo Gonzalez in Madrid; Editing by Toby Chopra and Alexandra Hudson)

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