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Ryanair cancellation fiasco could cost it $90 million

September 25, 2017 Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

After miscalculating the planning of pilots’ holidays, low-cost carrier Ryanair will cancel up to 2100 flights over the next six weeks; a decision that will affect about 400,000 passengers and could reportedly end up costing the airline the equivalent of almost AUD 90 million.

Ryanair plans to cancel 40-50 flights every day for the next six weeks, after admitting it had “messed up” the planning of pilot holidays.

Ryanair has devoted a section of its website to coming flight cancellations. They are currently running through to 22 October 2017. British consumer rights group Which? (the equivalent of CHOICE in Australia) has stated: “It’s essential that Ryanair release a full list of flights that will be affected so that passengers have as much time as possible to make alternate arrangements.”

The BBC says it has sighted an internal memo suggesting the pilot shortage could continue until the end of the year, though the BBC adds there’s “no suggestion this means the disruption will extend beyond October”.

Thousands of angry travellers have taken to social media to express their fury. Some have complained about holiday plans that have been ruined just 24 hours before takeoff while others have tweeted about being stuck in remote airports, left waiting up to three days for a flight home.

“Ryanair, for a low fare, seems to sell not only budget flights but also poor quality service,” said Marius Stonkus, the chief executive of Skycop, an international platform fighting for passenger rights.

“Based on customer watchdog Which? analysis, Ryanair ignores more than half of all customer complaints,” Stonkus said.

“Which? revealed that in 2016 Ryanair’s decision to refuse compensation was wrong in 77% of cases,” according to Skycop.

If your flight has been cancelled, Ryanair offers options. Affected travellers can choose between a full refund and an alternative flight ticket. However, Skycop says, there is no information about the moral compensation.

“Under EU law, every traveller is entitled to up to EUR 600 [AUD 900] compensation for a cancelled, delayed or overbooked flight. Every passenger who wasn’t notified of their flight cancellation through Ryanair at least two weeks prior to departure, is entitled to compensation.”

Skycop said the Ryanair move will cost the airline “around EUR 53 million [AUD 89.8] in compensations. As the airline has avoided informing their customers about the compensation, this sum depends solely on the passengers themselves. Depending on whether they have been informed in prior and flight distance, affected travellers can get up to GBP 600 [AUD 1016] compensations.”

Skycop said it has responded to the situation by sending an official letter to Ryanair with its suggestions on how to optimise compensation reimbursement processes.

“Every day for the next six weeks, Ryanair will cancel 40-50 flights, and their office should be ready to promptly deal with an accumulating pile of claims.”

Meanwhile, Italy’s competition regulator has begun probing the cancellations, which it believes the low-cost airline could have prevented. The BBC pointed out that Ryanair is Italy’s biggest carrier, outstripping even Alitalia, which it is trying to buy.

Ryanair says it has emailed all 315,000 affected customers, advising them of the flight changes and offering alternative flights and refunds.

The fiasco derives from a mistaken decision to force pilots to take their remaining annual leave before the end of this year, rather than by the end of the financial year next March. That left the airline without enough pilots to fly all its scheduled planes this month and next.

Written by Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. What can I say. You get what you pay for. After booking a 79 old client on Ryan Air last summer, he was charged 50 EUR for not checking in online. We’ll never. book this type of airline again, disgraceful. Important info like this should have been clearly mentioned (highlighted) in the booking conditions in normal letters and not hidden away on page upteen in rules of ticket.

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