Ryanair announces further flight cancellations

The cancellations could affect up to 400,000 passengers

Ryanair announces further flight cancellations

Photo. Mark Stedman/RollingNews.ie

Updated 18.25

Ryanair is extending its flight cancellations plan until mid-March next year.

The troubled airline has already cancelled 2,000 flights over six weeks because of a backlog of crew holiday.

Last week the airline's CEO, Michael O'Leary, claimed he was planning to recruit more than 100 pilots within a matter of days to address the problem.

The cancelled flights between November and March could affect up to 400,000 passengers.

The plan is set to affect 18,000 flights.

In a statement on Tuesday, the airline said it had opted to “slow its growth this winter” by flying 25 less aircraft from November and 10 fewer from April 2018.

It said the plan will “eliminate all risk” of further cancellations with spare aircraft and crew freed up across the company’s 86 bases.

Ryanair is to offer affected passengers vouchers | Image: Ryanair 

It said the policy will also allow the company to begin next year with no pilot leave backlog.

Consumer affairs correspondent with the Irish Times, Conor Pope, told The Hard Shoulder here on Newstalk the carrier is not helping themselves.

But he says people affected do have limited options.

"Basically they only have the two options: they can go for a refund or go for a re-routing.

"The airline will be obligared to look after them if they choose either of them.

"In addition to that - and I suppose Ryanair does deserve some credit for this... Ryanair has also offered affected passengers a €40 travel voucher that will allow them book a flight on any Ryanair service between October and March 2018.

"That's €40 each way".

Cancellations

The airline said all passengers affected by the new cancellations have been notified by e-mail giving them between five weeks to five months notice.

Customers have been offered alternative flights or full refunds.

The company said it has also contacted all 315,000 customers whose flights were previously cancelled over a six week period in September and October.

It insisted that the new measures mean that “from today there is no risk of further roster related flight cancellations.”

No flights to and from Dublin, Cork and Shannon have been affected in the latest tranche of cancellations. 

However a London to Belfast service is to be cancelled.

Pilot dispute

The company claimed that reports of disputes between pilots and management following the announcement of the first batch of flight cancellations last week were based on “false claims” made by competitor airline pilots in certain media outlets.

It comes after Ryanair pilots from bases all over Europe wrote to management rejecting proposals to forgo their holiday entitlements in exchange for bonuses.

It was widely reported that several of the airlines bases wrote e-mails threatening industrial action in the wake of the original rostering "mess-up" which disrupted a total of 315,000 passengers.

Employee Representative Councils liaise with Ryanair on behalf pilots and staff, as the company refuses to recognise unions.

Mr O’Leary has insisted that "hell will freeze over" before that policy changes.

“We will not respond or accede to anonymous demands made via unsigned emails for group or regional meetings, or for union interference at these internal ERC meetings,” the company statement warned.

“Many of our pilots and ERC’s have confirmed that these unsigned letters were drafted by pilots/unions of competitor airlines who wish to pursue an industrial relations agenda at the expense of Ryanair and its pilots.”

The airline is giving pilots at its four largest bases Dublin, Stansted, Berlin and Frankfurt a €10,000 supplement in base pay.

First officers at the four bases will receive a €5,000 supplement.