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PA Archive/Press Association Images
take off's off

Protest blocks Ryanair's first flight from Copenhagen

It was delayed for three hours.

DEMONSTRATORS DELAYED BUDGET airline Ryanair’s first flight from Copenhagen grounded for three hours yesterday amid a dispute with staff unions over wages and working conditions.

Ryanair commented:

This Ryanair flight from Copenhagen to Dublin was subjected to an unlawful blockade by non-Ryanair individuals at Copenhagen Airport and its departure was delayed by three hours. We call on the relevant authorities to take all necessary action to prevent any repeat of this unlawful blockade and we remain committed to growing jobs, routes and tourism in Denmark, with the opening of our new Copenhagen base next week.

It rejected claims from from Copenhagen Airports spokesman Soeren Hedegaard that the Ryanair pilot had asked for police to be called to the scene.

The demonstrators “work here at Copenhagen airport”, Hedegaard told AFP and “they are inside the area that requires valid access permission to enter”.

Stopped from refuelling

Between 50 and 60 demonstrators could be seen standing around the aircraft by one of the airport’s gates, preventing it from refuelling.

However, in a country where trade unions are powerful and enjoy public support, police seemed unwilling to disperse the demonstration.

“We have asked them to consider leaving the site and resolve the conflict in a different way. They were going to think about it,” deputy police inspector James Keiwe told news agency Ritzau.

We are very tolerant and patient at the Copenhagen police, so they must be given time for that.

Some three hours later, the demonstrators left, Copenhagen Airports said.

The Danish Confederation of Trade Unions, the country’s largest union centre, distanced itself from the protest, citing a pending court case to determine whether the Irish airline’s flights from Dublin to Copenhagen should be subject to Irish or generous Danish labour law.

It was prompted by the airline’s refusal to enter into a collective bargaining agreement with a union for pilots and cabin crew.

A ruling next week could pave the way for a sympathy strike by other unions that would make it hard for the budget carrier to handle luggage and receive fuel deliveries.

- Additional reporting Aoife Barry 

- © AFP, 2015

Read: It’s official – Ryanair is getting ready to fly to the USA>

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