Author Ben Leonard
Ryanair has admitted that they are cancelling between 40-50 flights a day for the next six weeks so that they can improve “system-wide punctuality”.
Clearing a backlog
Ryanair said that they were cancelling the flights in order to hit their annual 90 percent punctuality target for 2017. Marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said affected customers with bookings up to 20 September had been informed.
“By cancelling less than two percent of our flying programme over the next six weeks (until our winter schedule starts in early November), we can improve the operational resilience of our schedules and restore punctuality to our annualised target of 90 percent,” said Ryanair’s Robin Kiely.
By Ruthann from Western Ireland (EI-DPN, Ryanair 737-8AS cabin layout.) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia CommonsThe airline said that their punctuality had fallen below 80 percent in the first two weeks of September, due
to air traffic control capacity delays, weather disruptions and “increased holiday allocations to pilots and cabin crew”.
The budget airline is currently transitioning the start of their holiday year from April to a full calendar year. Due to this, and the fact that Ryanair operated at a record level during July and August, meant that there was a “backlog of crew leave”.
Ryanair passenger complaints
Ryanair tried to downplay the level of flights affected by the news, which they estimated to be 2 percent. However, this move is thought to affect around 285,000 passengers for the airline.
Unsurprisingly, many passengers were furious at the news that Ryanair has cancelled their flights. Ryanair said that they had notified all the passengers affected, but many took to social media to say that they had now been stranded at short notice.
Stranded in Portugal, can’t get hold of Ryanair! Thanks you have ruined my holiday #Ryanair
— Cindie castle (@CastleCindie) September 17, 2017
Many passengers said that they had only been given 48 hours notice from Ryanair, which meant that many are being left abroad.
Yes they’re serious . I had minus 2 day notice, left stranded #ryanaircancellations
— MaSmith (@demorali8ed) September 17, 2017
Some customers said last-minute cancellations had left them out of pocket due to non-refundable accommodation costs or with no choice but to book expensive alternative flights or transport.
The UK aviation minister, Lord Martin Callanan, said
“I am very concerned to see all of these reports of stranded Ryanair passengers. We expect all airlines to fulfil their obligations to their customers and do everything possible to notify them well in advance of any disruption to their journey.
“In the event of any disruption or cancellation airlines must ensure customers are fully compensated and every effort is made to provide alternative travel arrangements.”
UK customers do have rights under the European Passenger Rights legislation. According to the legislation, if an airline doesn’t have an alternative flight that is suitable, they have to book you on a rival airline.
However, many on social media have said that the customer care they have received from Ryanair has not been helpful.
Really. I was left stranded in Tallinn and had to pay 966 euros to get home via stockholm but you haven’t contacted me. Disgraceful
— dan reeves (@danreevesy) September 16, 2017
Many passengers are today wondering whether they will be able to claim compensation for the flights that have been cancelled. However, many others are simply waiting to see whether or not their flights will be cancelled in the first place.