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Ryanair to close Eindhoven base but says most flights won’t be hit

THE NETHERLANDS. Irish budget airline Ryanair said on Monday it is closing its Eindhoven base, which currently operates four planes, but said ‘most routes to and from Eindhoven will continue on overseas based aircraft’.

The announcement was made as Ryanair issued a profit warning, cutting the forecast from €1.25bn – €1.35bn, to a new range of €1.10bn – €1.20bn. The new figure is due to the recent strikes as well as higher oil prices, the airline said in a statement.

‘Two recent coordinated strikes by cabin crew and pilots across five EU countries has affected passenger numbers, close in bookings and yields (as we re-accommodate disrupted passengers), and forward air fares into Q3,’ chief executive Michael O’Leary said. ‘Customer confidence, forward bookings and Q3 fares have been affected, most notably over the October school mid-terms and Christmas, in those five countries where unnecessary strikes have been repeated.’

Two German hubs are also being closed or reduced because the downturn, the airline said. It is unclear what the decision will mean for the 50 or so pilots and 150 cabin crew who are based in Eindhoven. The airline offers 155 flights from Eindhoven a week and if the base is closed, that will go down to 130, broadcaster NOS said.

Ryanair said it expects to offer pilots vacancies at other Ryanair bases but, ‘as we have a large surplus of winter cabin crew, we will explore unpaid leave and other options to minimise cabin crew job losses’. Pilots union VNV, which supported last week’s strike, said it was not impressed by Ryanair ‘spreading fear’. ‘Ryanair is focused on expanding in the Netherlands, so this is an empty threat,’ spokesman Joost van Doesburg told NOS.

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