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08.45 17 Dec 2017


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Updated: 12.00

The Irish Travel Agents Association is urging all parties involved in the Ryanair unions dispute to act quickly.

It comes as a breakthrough looms in attempts to avert the airline's first ever pilots' strike.

Ryanair has offered to meet with IMPACT on Tuesday, and has called on the unions to call off threatened action next week.

On Friday, the Irish carrier announced for the first time in its 32 year history that it would recognise unions.

However it said it would not be able to meet with IMPACT until Wednesday - which is the day the strike is due to begin.

IMPACT responded, saying the strike would go ahead unless management agreed to talks before that, to allow them to ensure there was substance in the offer and to understand how the airlines' recognition of unions would proceed.

On Saturday evening Ryanair issued a statement, offering to meet the union and their Ryanair Pilot Committee on Tuesday 'if that would suit them better'.

So far there has been no response from unions to say if that is enough.

The airline also confirmed that the German pilot union has agreed to meetings on Wednesday December 20th.

The Portuguese pilot union has requested a meeting and Ryanair has offered to meet them on Thursday December 21st.

The British and Italian pilots’ unions have agreed to meet in early January.

Ryanair claims the threatened industrial action "is causing unnecessary concern and worry" for thousands of customers travelling home during Christmas week.

'People need to make arrangements'

President of the the Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA), Cormac Meehan, is asking the parties to move quickly.

"I'm very welcome to see that talks may start on Tuesday, but would urge both parties to try and engage today or tomorrow at the latest.

"Simply because people who are making plans need to be able to make arrangements either to cancel their flights or to make alternative arrangements.

"And people really cannot do that until such time as they're aware which flights are being cancelled.

"The whole question of flight rights are tied up in when you're actually informed that the flight is going to be cancelled".

"The main area of compensation and re-arrangement - the most lucrative time is within seven days of the date of travel.

"It would benefit the consumer if they got the information quite immediately in terms of knowing which flights are cancelled.

"It's probably easier to prepare a schedule of cancelled flights, and then work your way through that".

Additional reporting: Jack Quann


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