Ryanair to cancel 50 flights daily to improve punctuality
BUDGET airline Ryanair has announced it will cancel up to 50 flights daily for the next six weeks in a bid to improve punctuality.
The company said air traffic control (ATC) delays and strikes, bad weather and a backlog of annual leave to be taken by pilots and cabin crew had led to punctuality falling to below 80 per cent over the last two weeks.
A spokesman said this figure was “unacceptable” and reducing two per cent of scheduled flights until the end of October would help improve performance and allow staff to take holiday.
The airline apologised to affected customers, who it said will be offered alternative flights or refunds.
But passengers took to social media to complain. Some customers said lastminute cancellations had left them outof-pocket due to non-refundable accommodation costs, or with no choice but to book expensive alternative flights or transport.
Others said they had been left stranded. Many urged Ryanair to publish a list of all flight cancellations.
Writing on the airline’s Facebook page, Maria Joanna Suquitana said guests travelling to Italy for her brother’s wedding had their flights cancelled just hours before departure.
She wrote: “We rented a van from Germany and drive 16 hours because we just can’t trust to fly with you again.”
Ryanair said a change in the company’s holiday year, from April to March to a calendar year, had seen an increase in holiday allocations as staff used their annual leave before the end of the year.
It said the 40 to 50 flight cancellations each day accounted for less than two per cent of its 2,500 daily flights and it would create additional standby aircraft to help restore punctuality.
Robin Kiely, head of communications at Ryanair, said: “We apologise sincerely to the small number of customers affected by these cancellations and will be doing our utmost to arrange alternative flights and/or full refunds.”