Ryanair facing PR nightmare over cancelled flights

Eleanor Steed
By Eleanor Steed September 18, 2017 09:39

Ryanair facing PR nightmare over cancelled flights

Over the weekend, the UK and European media have savaged Ryanair for the cancellation of hundreds of flights due to a mistake with the airline’s pilot holiday schedules. The Irish low-cost carrier announced on Friday, September 15, 2017 that it is cancelling 40-50 flights daily for the next six weeks (to the end of October) to “improve its system-wide punctuality which has fallen below 80% in the first two weeks of September through a combination of ATC capacity delays and strikes, weather disruptions and the impact of increased holiday allocations to pilots and cabin crew as the airline moves to allocate annual leave during a 9 month transition period (April to December 2017) to move the airline’s holiday year (currently April to March) to a calendar year (Jan to Dec) from 1st January 2018 onwards”.

Although the cancellations are just 2% of the airline’s schedule, this equates to over 2,500 daily flights, which has caused severe disruption for thousands of passengers. Although Ryanair has apologised and offer refunds or alternative flights, reports in the media are filled with tales of misery from passengers. The cancellations have caused Ryanair’s share price to fall by three percent today.  The cost of these cancellations for the airline has yet to be calculated but by European law, airlines must provide at least two weeks’ notice to avoid paying compensation. To date, Ryanair has only informed passengers of cancelled flights up to September 30 – cancellations for the next five weeks are unknown, which is causing additional negative outbursts from passengers.

For an airline as experienced as Ryanair, a mistake with pilot holiday leave is really inexcusable and throws a spanner into the works of the airline’s Always Getting Better programme that was just starting to show dividends.

Eleanor Steed
By Eleanor Steed September 18, 2017 09:39