Ryanair has announced it will scrap 18,000 more flights on 34 routes until March 2018 – having already seen 2,000 flights grounded.
The airline has said it will remove 25 of its 400 planes from November this year, a move they claim will prevent further flight cancellations.
All affected passengers will be offered vouchers of 40 euro (£35) one way or 80 euros return (£70) which will allow them to book a flight on an alternative Ryanair service between October and March 2018, it said.
The firm has been forced into the cancellations after miscalculating pilot leave.
Taking more flights out of service means Ryanair will be able to ‘roster all of the extra pilot leave necessary’ in October, November and December, the budget airline said.
As a result, 34 routes are suspended for the winter season from November to March 2018. This could affect some 400,000 customers who have already booked flights.
It includes routes such as London Stansted to Edinburgh and Glasgow, Gatwick to Belfast, Newcastle to Faro, and Glasgow to Las Palmas.
Ryanair has announced it will scrap 18,000 more flights on 34 routes until March 2018
These are the 34 flight routes that will be scrapped until March 2018 following today’s announcement by Ryanair
The budget airline will also operate ten fewer aircraft from April 2018.
The flight cancellations has so far cost the airline around 25 million Euros (£21m).
In a statement Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary said: ‘We sincerely apologise to those customers who have been affected by last week’s flight cancellations, or these sensible schedule changes announced today.
‘From today, there will be no more rostering related flight cancellations this winter or in summer 2018.
‘Slower growth this winter will create lots of spare aircraft and crews which will allow us to manage the exceptional volumes of annual leave we committed to delivering in the nine months to December 2017. We will start a new 12 month leave period on the 1st of Jan 2018 in full compliance with EU regulations and the IAA’s requirements.’
The firm also said that it has scrapped plans to bid for bankrupt Italian airline Alitalia in order to ‘focus on repairing this rostering problem this winter’.
Airline boss and billionaire Michael O’Leary has apologised to outraged passengers
Hannah Maundrell, editor-in-chief of money.co.uk, said the latest flight cancellations were frustrating for customers.
‘It’s so disappointing for Ryanair passengers whose flights have been cancelled, even with more notice this time it’s still seriously frustrating. Ryanair are still in a mess here, but you shouldn’t be left out of pocket,’ she said.
‘If your flight has been cancelled, ask for a refund. You should get your money back within seven days or given an alternative flight. This should also apply to connecting flights you miss as a result, as long as they were booked together.’
Ryanair £40 voucher apology for cancellations
Ryanair is offering 315,000 customers a £40 or €40 travel voucher for each one-way trip or 80 Euro return cancelled because of its pilot shortage crisis.
The vouchers must be redeemed by the end of next month, with flights to be taken by 20 March.
However they can only be used during off-peak times, with the Christmas holidays and Easter not covered by the vouchers. Festive services between December 20 and January 7 are excluded.
Infants are also not eligible, according to Sky News.
Ryanair had already canned 2,100 flights in the six weeks to the end of October, as it struggled with landing planes on time, reportedly mainly owing to a shortage of pilots.
Last week Mr O’Leary launched an extraordinary attack on his own pilots, claiming they did not have a difficult job.
He also scoffed at complaints from short haul pilots they are suffering from fatigue because of a packed working schedule – suggesting this must be due to their activities outside of work.
Admitting he had been a ‘clown’ and made a ‘major boo boo’ over the cancelled flights crisis which affected 315,000 passengers and left some stranded for up to nine days, Mr O’Leary also accused some pilots of being ‘precious about themselves’ and ‘full of their own self-importance’.
But despite previously claiming that an exodus of disgruntled pilots had nothing to do with its shock decision to cancel more than 2,000 flights scheduled before the end of October, Mr O’Leary revealed the firm aimed to recruit 120 new pilots within ‘the next week or two.’
The budget airline has agreed to pay for alternative flights or offer refunds to more than 300,000 affected customers, and should under European law meet the accommodation and food costs of those stranded abroad.
But people who have had to cancel their holidays before they have even begun have complained they cannot get their money back for non-refundable hotel bookings or car hire.
FULL LIST OF CANCELLED FLIGHTS
1. Bucharest – Palermo
2. Chania – Athens
3. Chania – Pafos
4. Chania – Thessaloniki
5. Cologne – Berlin (SXF)
6. Edinburgh – Szczecin
7. Glasgow – Las Palmas
8. Hamburg – Edinburgh
9. Hamburg – Katowice
10. Hamburg – Oslo (TRF)
11. Hamburg – Thessaloniki
12. Hamburg – Venice (TSF)
13. London (LGW) – Belfast
14. London (STN) – Edinburgh
15. London (STN) – Glasgow
16. Newcastle – Faro
17. Newcastle – Gdansk
18. Sofia – Castellon
19. Sofia – Memmingen
20. Sofia – Pisa
21. Sofia – Stockholm (NYO)
22. Sofia – Venice (TSF)
23. Thessaloniki – Bratislava
24. Thessaloniki – Paris BVA
25. Thessaloniki – Warsaw (WMI)
26. Trapani – Baden Baden
27. Trapani – Frankfurt (HHN)
28. Trapani – Genoa
29. Trapani – Krakow
30. Trapani – Parma
31. Trapani – Rome FIU
32. Trapani – Trieste
33. Wroclaw – Warsaw
34. Gdansk – Warsaw
What are passengers’ rights when flights are cancelled?
Under EU Regulation 261/2004 holidaymakers have certain rights if their flight is cancelled or delayed.
The flight must have departed from an EU airport and be operated by any airline, or it must be arriving into an EU airport and be operated by an EU airline. The ‘EU airport’ also includes the following countries; Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
Firstly airlines must offer an alternative flight or a full refund, if your flight was cancelled.
You can also get a full refund if the flight wasn’t cancelled but was delayed for more than five hours and you no longer wish to travel.
Airlines must also offer you meals, refreshments, and hotel accommodation as appropriate whilst you wait for a rearranged flight for both delays and cancellation.
They should also cover any transport costs between the hotel and the airport.
You should keep any food, transport or accommodation receipts to use when making a claim for compensation.
Here are some of the key questions around the claims process:
What rules apply?
EU law protects passengers whose flights are delayed or cancelled under the Denied Boarding Regulation.
This applies to flights either departing from an EU airport or those that are both arriving at an EU airport and operated by an EU airline, such as Ryanair.
Are passengers entitled to a refund?
Yes, passengers can claim a refund from the airline. If they have booked a return flight and the outbound leg is cancelled, they can also claim the full cost of the return ticket.
What if a passenger still wants to travel?
Ryanair must offer an alternative flight as soon as possible after the cancelled flight. This will be ‘at worse’ on the following day, Ryanair said.
Do they get any assistance while they wait?
Delayed passengers are entitled to claim reasonable expenditure for food, soft drinks, phone calls and accommodation.
What about compensation?
If less than 14 days notice is given for a cancellation, airline travellers can claim up to 250 euros (£221) under EU regulation 261, depending on the timing of the alternative flight.
Customers given more warning are not entitled to a payout.
Is compensation automatic?
No, disrupted passengers must write a letter of complaint to the airline.
They should keep as much evidence as they can, such as boarding cards and receipts to claim expenses.
A template letter can be found on the website of consumer watchdog Which?