Ryanair cancels 18,000 MORE flights this winter and is accused of ‘effectively canceling Christmas’ due to new chaos affecting 400,000 passengers through March
ANGRY Ryanair passengers yesterday called for a boycott of the airline after it announced that a further 18,000 flights had been canceled in five months.
Around 400,000 customers will be affected by a new wave of cancellations, with some flight routes shutting down completely for five months.
And last night, the Civil Aviation Authority threatened legal action against the airline for “persistently misleading passengers with inaccurate information” about their rights.
The cancellations came as the airline grounded 25 of its 400 aircraft for five months due to pilot shortages.
34 flight routes are suspended for the entire period, including Stansted to Edinburgh and Glasgow, Gatwick to Belfast and Newcastle to Faro – see the full list at the end of this article.
But thousands of other flights on various routes have also been canceled – click here for the full list of UK affected flights from November to March.
As this time passengers receive up to five weeks’ notice of cancellations, they will not receive any additional compensation under EU passenger rules.
Affected passengers were offered a refund and a €40 (£35) voucher as compensation – but this was deemed a mockery.
The vouchers have a strictly defined range of conditions.
They must be spent in October on a flight that leaves before March 20 – and the busy holiday period between December 20 and January 7 is off.
It also cannot be used on the Ryanair app or for infants.
Alex Neill of consumer group Which? said: “This situation is a complete and utter mess. Ryanair has successfully canceled Christmas for some passengers.
“Offering a voucher will be a cold consolation to passengers who cannot book the flight they need.”
Many travelers have vowed to abandon the Irish carrier. Dan Crabb tweeted: “Cheers @Ryanair for canceling our flight for the first leg of our honeymoon. Never again.”
Kirsty B added: “Absolute confusion from @Ryanair. Our hotel is non-refundable, so thanks for everything!”
Ryanair was dubbed ‘Ryanground’ yesterday after it said it had grounded 25 of its 400 aircraft between November and March 2018.
It comes ten days after Ryanair said 40 to 50 flights a day would be canceled over the next six weeks.
It says less than one percent of its 50 million customers will be affected. The bosses also insist that the latest move will “eliminate any risk of further flight cancellations”.
Passengers’ Christmas flights home have been cancelled
Sinead McIntyre, editor of Sun On Sunday’s Fabulous magazine, was traveling to Northern Ireland this Christmas but her flights from London Gatwick to Belfast were cancelled.
As Ryanair gave more than 14 days notice of termination, Sinead and her family are not entitled to any compensation – only a refund.
Now they fear that they will not be able to afford to fly another airline in such a short time.
She told Sun Online: “I haven’t heard anything from Ryanair.
“My mum’s flights here in November were unexpectedly canceled yesterday – without any contact from them.
“Then my sister was trying to book a trip home for Christmas and that’s the only way I was able to discover that there are no flights from November to March – even though I only booked mine last Friday.
“We are now without flights home for me, my husband and my six-year-old twins.
“At that point, prices will also go up, so I’m not even sure we’ll be able to travel.”
The airline estimated the flight cancellations would cost the company less than £50m.
Chief Michael O’Leary apologized for “reasonable changes to the schedule” and blamed the problem on poor management of pilots’ holidays.
He added: “Slow growth this winter will create plenty of spare aircraft and crew, allowing us to manage an exceptional number of annual leave.”
The Civil Aviation Authority has requested a meeting with Ryanair and may take legal action.
List of flight routes from November to March 2018 that Ryanair completely canceled
1. Bucharest – Palermo
2. Chania – Athens
3. Chania – Paphos
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
17. Newcastle – Gdansk
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
It claims the airline did not provide passengers with enough information on how to claim for extra expenses such as meals, hotels and transfer costs.
It was also found that Ryanair had misled people about their rights to alternative flights at the airline’s expense.
Ryanair said it had addressed the CAA’s concerns.
It also announced that it had abandoned plans to bid for the bankrupt Italian airline Alitalia.
Timeline of the airline crisis
15th of September: Ryanair is canceling flights for six weeks because it mismanaged pilots’ holidays.
September 18: A full list of over 2,000 grounded flights has been published. Chief Executive Michael O’Leary admits it’s “our mess”.
September 19: Pilots are considering strike action over working conditions and receive a £12,000 bonus.
September 21: The airline says it will change the holiday schedule of 500 pilots.
The share price drops to £14.54, its lowest level since £15.25 at the start of the crisis.
Yesterday: Ryanair is canceling an additional 18,000 flights. Shares return to £15.02.
Despite a string of bad news, Ryanair shares are up four per cent – though analysts warn of possible tougher times ahead.
George Salmon of broker Hargreaves Lansdown said: “The damage to his reputation will be a major test for the company.”
Strikes, air traffic control congestion and problems with crew departures have also seen punctuality fall below 80 percent in the last two weeks.