Ryanair pilots have suspended a planned one-day strike for Wednesday after company management agreed to recognise the union as the representative of Irish-based pilots, according to trade union IMPACT.

IMPACT released a statement this evening saying it has agreed to meet with Ryanair management on Tuesday evening.

Some 117 directly employed Ryanair pilots are involved in the dispute, making up the majority of the firm's captains in the country - meaning any walkout would have severely affected flights.

The development will ease worries for passengers planning to fly home for Christmas.

"The union asked management to release its Ryanair pilot representatives to prepare for and attend the meeting," said the statement.

"The union acknowledged the principled determination of Ryanair pilots, which it said had made this breakthrough possible, and said it looked forward to establishing a positive relationship with Ryanair company management," said the statement.

Impact said the union would make no further comment until after the meeting with Ryanair on Tuesday.

Last Friday, the airline announced that it was prepared to recognise unions for the first time in its 32-year history in a bid to avert Wednesday's strike.

Ryanair also faces challenges from staff in Germany, Portugal, Britain and Italy.

The firm's chief operations officer, Peter Bellew, said: "Let's keep talking. Get people home quietly for Christmas. Union meetings planned next week and January."

In October, Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary wrote to his airline's pilots to offer them better pay and conditions after Ryanair was forced to cancel thousands of flights.

The carrier admitted it had "messed up" the planning of its pilots' holidays.