Out­rage as Ryanair axes 2,000 f lights to ‘boost punc­tu­al­ity’

The Mail on Sunday - - News - By Neil Craven

RYANAIR was yest e r day ac­cused of un­leash­ing chaos af­ter can­celling up to 2,100 flights – while telling pas­sen­gers the move will help it to im­prove punc­tu­al­ity.

The de­ci­sion has thrown the travel plans for as many as 285,000 peo­ple into dis­ar­ray and caused a back­lash among those af­fected.

The air­line de­fended the move, blam­ing air traf­fic con­trol de­lays, bad weather and a back­log of an­nual leave for pilots and cabin crew, which it said had com­bined to cause a sud­den drop in the ef­fi­ciency of its ser­vice.

It said flight punc­tu­al­ity had fallen be­low 80 per cent over the past two weeks. A spokesman said this fig­ure was ‘ un­ac­cept­able’ and cut­ting 40 to 50 flights a day un­til the end of Oc­to­ber would help im­prove per­for­mance and al­low staff to take hol­i­days.

He apol­o­gised to the ‘small num­ber’ of peo­ple af­fected.

But cus­tomers re­acted with fury on so­cial me­dia. De­nis Ma­hon, from Dublin, branded the de­ci­sion ‘ ridicu­lous’ and said his hol­i­day plans had gone ‘up in smoke’. He said on Twit­ter that the com­pany had given him two days’ no­tice and had of­fered him a re­place­ment flight three days af­ter his orig­i­nal book­ing.

Natalie Kirby, from Brent­wood in Es­sex, who was due to fly on Tues­day, said: ‘ I’m very an­gry about my flight be­ing can­celled. We have re­booked but have had to pay out more.’

Thou­sands of other cus­tom- ers who have flights be­yond Wed­nes­day have been left in the dark with the com­pany fac­ing de­mands to pro­vide de­tails of all flights af­fected to al­low cus­tomers to make al­ter­na­tive ar­range­ments in ad­vance.

One irate cus­tomer said on Twit­ter: ‘Just re­ceived an email from Ryanair telling me to check in for a flight that they can­celled yes­ter­day! Do they know what they’re do­ing?’

Lea Maquin, f r om Cam­bridge, said: ‘Thank you Ryanair for ru­in­ing our hol­i­day by can­celling our re­turn flight.’

Un­der EU rules, cus­tomers should re­ceive up to € 400 c o mpen­sati o n for flights can­celled within two weeks of de­par­ture.

The com­pany said last night: ‘We apol­o­gise sin­cerely to the small num­ber of cus­tomers af­fected, and will be do­ing our ut­most to ar­range al­ter­na­tive flights and/or full re­funds.’

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