Ryanair has threatened to close bases in Spain and Italy if new labour agreements cannot be reached with unions.

Speaking to investors on 27 July as Ryanair reported a first-quarter net loss of €185 million ($217 million), chief executive Michael O’Leary said the carrier was “looking at base closures in Spain where, for the moment, the unions have not yet agreed to the pay cuts we need”.

He also said there was a “real risk to some of the regional bases in Italy, where you’ve a combination of slow pace of negotiations with unions but also the Italian government trying to impose Alitalia’s pay rates” on other airlines.

Ryanair has already announced the closure of its Hahn base in Germany after failing to reach an agreement on cost savings with German pilots, and has threatened to also close its bases at Berlin Tegel and Weeze near Dusseldorf.

However, O’Leary says Ryanair’s Poland-based charter subsidiary Buzz could “take on a couple more bases this winter”. Ryanair chief financial officer Neil Sorahan adds that the group’s Malta Air unit might also “take on more of our operations over the coming years and months”.

Ryanair Group has 14 Boeing 737s with leases due to expire in May 2021 and is “in discussions with the lessors”, says O’Leary.

“We’d certainly be willing to extend those leases, as long as we could do so on competitive terms,” he adds.