Having attracted criticism earlier this month for a change to their hand luggage policy, budget airline Ryanair are under fire again for another unpopular announcement. Clearly, they’re hoping to get it all out of the way in one go.
They have announced that they are going to cancel 40 to 50 flights every day for the next six weeks; and some passengers will receive barely any notice, with reports already coming in that passengers are only being told 24 hours beforehand whether their journey will take place or not.
The move is being made due to the need to clear a backlog of holiday that has run up for staff, and also because the airline wants to improve punctuality, which has fallen below 80 per cent in the first half of September. It is believed that the move could affect up to 285,000 passengers, who will be offered alternative flights or refunds - not much use for those who have non-refundable hotels or hire cars though.
The airline’s head of communications, Robin Kiely 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 for them. We have operated a record schedule and traffic numbers during the peak summer months of July and August but must now allocate annual leave to pilots and cabin crew in September and October while still running the bulk of our summer schedule. This increased leave at a time of ATC capacity delays and strikes (in France), has severely reduced our on-time performance over the past two weeks to under 80 per cent. By cancelling less than two per cent 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 per cent.”
Under European Passenger Rights legislation, passengers are entitled to either an alternative flight or compensation - specifically 250 euros (£218) for short-haul, 440 euros (£384) for medium-haul and 600 euros (£523) for long-haul.
To be fair, how could Ryanair have possibly predicted that their staff would want to take all of their holiday? If only there was some way of counting it all up and realising. Something like a calendar maybe. No, that’s just too crazy an idea.
Still, we admire the idea of cancelling journeys to improve punctuality. After all, if you don’t set off, you can’t be late can you?
We’d like to hereby declare that ShortList Airlines has a proud punctuality record of 100 per cent. Fly on-time: fly ShortList.