World | Europe

September 27, 2017

400,000 more passengers to be hit by Ryanair cancellations

Ryanair will cancel another 18,000 flights between November and March, affecting the travel plans of another 400,000 passengers.

It will fly 25 fewer planes to cut the risk of further flight cancellations.

More than 30 routes will be suspended this winter, including Stansted to Edinburgh and Glasgow, Gatwick to Belfast and Newcastle to Faro.

Earlier this month the Irish airline cancelled up to 50 flights a day through to the end of October.

Those passengers affected by the move will be offered alternative flights or full refunds.

They will also be offered vouchers of 40 euro (£35) one way or 80 euros return towards on alternative flights on top of any refund.

Ryanair said passengers affected by the cancellations up to the end of next month have been sent emails advising them of the flight changes.

The airline has blamed the summer cancellations on "messing up" pilot holiday rosters and again denied it had a pilot shortage.

"In the current year less than 100 of over 2,000 captains left Ryanair (mainly retirements or to long haul airlines) and less than 160 F.O's [first officers] who have mainly left to join long haul airlines," it said.

It added that it had more than 2,500 pilots on a waiting list and had offered jobs to over 650 new pilots who would be employed by May next year.

In addititon, ten days after saying it was preparing to buy the Italian carrier Alitalia, it today announced that it was dropping its bid in order to "eliminate all management distractions".

Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary said: "From today, there will be no more rostering-related flight cancellations this winter or in summer 2018.

"Slower growth this winter will create lots of spare aircraft and crews, which will allow us to manage the exceptional volumes of annual leave we committed to delivering in the nine months to December 2017."

In total 34 routes across Europe will be suspended during the winter months.

The airline also said the total cost of the flight cancellations to date was less 25m euros (£22m) and expected the cost of the free flight vouchers would be less than £22m.

It said that it has had to scale back its original forecast for passenger numbers in the year to March 2018 from 131m to 129m. but it said that it would not affect profitability.

Ryanair's share price rose 3.5% in London, bringing the rise this year to 17%.

Text by BBC
 

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