Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Ryanair cancel another 18,000 flights and axe 34 routes.

The low-cost high-fee airline Ryanair has announced it will go forward with plans to cancel a further 18,000 flights between November and March which will effect more than 400,000 passengers.

The airline made the announcement today and claimed it had already contacted the passengers concerned and offered them alternatives or a full refund. Passengers will also get a voucher for €40 for a one-way flight or €80 for a return which can be used for a future Ryanair flight - however the use by date for the vouchers will only be March 2018, so for most will be worthless.

The airline is also axing a number of routes as they stem their growth in order to cope with a lack of pilots to cover flight crew holidays.  Ryanair says the 35 routes are only suspended and not permanently axed.  

Read on to find out which routes are axed as well as more on the latest developments on Ryanair's mass passenger disruption plans. 
Axed routes are:-

1. Bucharest – Palermo    18. Sofia – Castellon
2. Chania – Athens            19. Sofia – Memmingen
3. Chania – Pafos            20. Sofia – Pisa
4. Chania – Thessaloniki    21. Sofia – Stockholm (NYO)
5. Cologne – Berlin (SXF)    22. Sofia – Venice (TSF)
6. Edinburgh – Szczecin    23. Thessaloniki – Bratislava
7. Glasgow – Las Palmas    24. Thessaloniki – Paris BVA
8. Hamburg – Edinburgh    25. Thessaloniki – Warsaw (WMI)
9. Hamburg – Katowice    26. Trapani – Baden Baden
10. Hamburg – Oslo (TRF)    27. Trapani – Frankfurt (HHN)
11. Hamburg – Thessaloniki    28. Trapani – Genoa
12. Hamburg – Venice (TSF)   29. Trapani – Krakow
13. London (LGW) – Belfast   30. Trapani – Parma
14. London (STN) – Edinburgh31. Trapani – Rome FIU
15. London (STN) – Glasgow  32. Trapani – Trieste
16. Newcastle – Faro             33. Wroclaw – Warsaw
17. Newcastle – Gdansk     34. Gdansk – Warsaw

Many predicted an extension to the earlier announcement of cancelling up to 50 flights a day until 31 October, blaming it on a “mess-up” in scheduling pilots holidays. (not mentioning again their very first press release about the cancellations that it was more about getting back to 90% punctuality rates than pilot holidays!)  That wave of cancellations affected 315,000 customers.

Announcing the latest cancellations on Wednesday, the airline’s chief executive, Michael O’Leary, apologised to customers for the second time this month but said the changes were “sensible”.  We sincerely apologise to those customers who have been affected by last week’s flight cancellations, or these sensible schedule changes announced today,” he said.

“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 Dec 2017. We will start a new 12-month leave period on 1 January 2018 in full compliance with EU regulations and the IAA’s requirements.”

However, it is also worth noting that by pulling the flights now they also avoid having to pay the legal compensation for cancelled flight arrangements that they've had to pay for the last lot of cancellations. They estimate compensation is costing them up to €20 million.  Refunds will cost the company under €25m while they expect the free flight vouchers will cost less than €25m - because at least half will not be able to be used. 

Ryanair is also pulling out of its plans to bid for Alitalia, saying  “In order to focus on repairing this rostering problem this winter, Ryanair will eliminate all management distractions starting with its interest in Alitalia,” the company advised.

Interesting to note that whilst the airline throws passengers travel plans into turmoil and chaos they still expect to rake in a massive profit for the shareholders - Ryanair expects its full-year profits after tax to be somewhere between €1.40bn and €1.45bn. 

Pilots have also been rewarded, pay is going up at some bases, however, those already flying for the airline have been warned that, due to the bankruptcy of Air Berlin, Alitalia and issues in the Gulf region there are a lot of other pilots ready to take your place if you complain.  To help smooth the relations, pilots that are members of the employee representative committee at each base are getting a compliant bonus. 

The airline continues to accept the new aircraft it ordered from Boeing at the already agreed rate, 50 new 737's between Sept 2017 and May 2018. They are also due to take 20 aircraft during the winter of 2018/19. However, according to insiders in Seattle, the airline had asked to 'park' or store a number of aircraft, albeit on a short-term basis. 

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