Ryanair has offered to meet with the IMPACT trade union ahead of planned strike action next week by some Ryanair pilots.

Yesterday, IMPACT had said next week's strike would go ahead unless Ryanair management arranged to meet the union before Wednesday.

This afternoon Ryanair released a statement saying they have offered to meet with IMPACT on Tuesday. The strike is planned for Wednesday 20 December.

"Ryanair today confirmed that the German pilot union and IMPACT/IALPA have agreed to Ryanair’s offer of meetings to agree union recognition on Wednesday 20 December," said the statement.

"Ryanair has also offered to meet IMPACT/IALPA and their Ryanair pilot committee on Tuesday 19 December if that would suit them better," added the statement. 

Ryanair said yesterday that after agreeing to recognise unions, it would not be able to meet IMPACT representatives until Wedneday.

The IMPACT trade union had said the work stoppage would go ahead unless management arranged a meeting before that.

Speaking to RTÉ yesterday morning, Bernard Harbor of IMPACT said the union wanted the meeting to make sure there was substance to the offer Ryanair had made, and to flesh out how the airline's recognition of unions would proceed.

Mr Harbor said IMPACT had spoken to senior Ryanair management, telling them they were ready to meet them at any time.

He said: "We are ready to meet them today or tomorrow if necessary and we want to have that meeting just to make sure that there is substance to the offer they made in writing and to flesh out how that recognition process would proceed."

He added: "Once we have that we're ready to lift the industrial action but we need to do that first."

In its statement this afternoon, the airline said: "Ryanair has again called on IMPACT/ IALPA to cancel the threatened industrial action on Wednesday Dec 20 (as the Italian and German unions have already done) which is causing unnecessary concern and worry for thousands of Ryanair customers travelling home during Christmas week."

The Irish Travel Agent Association has welcomed signs of progress towards solving the impasse between Ryanair and IMPACT.

However, Cormac Meehan of the ITAA said the talks should be moved up to today at the latest to assist the travelling public and give them a chance to reschedule their journeys if necessary.