Saturday, 16 September 2017

Ryanair Strand 226,800 passengers in order to get a better punctuality level

The budget airline Ryanair announced yesterday that it would cancel 40-50 flights daily for the next six weeks (to the end of October) in order to improve its system-wide punctuality which has fallen below 80% in the first two weeks of September.   The airline wants its figures to look better and in true Ryanair fashion, they blame everyone else rather than themselves and their shockingly poor management.

Ryanair says the fall in punctuality is through a combination of Air Traffic Control capacity delays, strikes, weather disruptions and the impact of increased holiday allocations to pilots and cabin crew. Last month they blamed passengers for actually taking advantage of the rules regarding baggage for causing delays. Now they blame the hardworking and dedicated cabin crew and pilots for daring to actually take the holiday days they are entitled to as part of the terms and conditions of employment!

The smaller number of crew on duty combined with capacity restrictions in the skies above the UK, Germany and Spain have all impacted the airline claims. Yet having spoken to the nice people at Swanwick, they are at a loss to know what restrictions Ryanair are talking about that would have such a major impact, 'It's pure fabrication' our contact said.

Of course, there have been some issues with French Air Traffic Control, they have been conducting industrial action recently, which would have had an impact on some flights.  Ryanair also blames the weather, they say thunderstorms have caused a massive dent in their punctuality figures, especially in the recent weeks. It's a good job Ryanair only fly in Europe because heaven knows how they would cope with real adverse weather events like hurricanes Harvey and Irma.  

Ryanair’s on-time performance has declined from 90% to under 80% over the past two weeks, a figure that is unacceptable to Ryanair and its customers is what Ryanair said in its press release.  Yet most passengers seem to think its the sudden short notice cancellation of their flights that is the really unacceptable issue. John was due to travel to Bratislava with Ryanair, his flight was cancelled, Ryanair told him via email less than twelve hours before he was due to go on his anniversary weekend away with his wife. In the email, it offered him two options, press one button for a full refund or press the second button to rebook the flights for another day.  He tried rebooking, but the nearest outbound flight available was the same afternoon of his previously scheduled return, and that's as far as the system would allow him to get.  He's tried contacting the airline by phone, but as yet hasn't got through. There are countless examples from passengers affected by the swathe of cancellations the airline is forcing on its customers. 

The drop in the punctuality of Ryanair flights would seem a much more 'unacceptable' issue for its annual reports and to its investors than to its passengers who just want to, put it simply get what they paid for - a flight to their destination on the day the booked it for.  Surely that's not too much to ask from an airline, is it?

Ryanair boasts that they are only cutting about 2% percent of their daily flights like that is some magic number and they should be congratulated. Yes, sure they operate around 2500 flights a day, so cancelling 40ish isn't that many, but isn't running an airline about actually operating flights?  Isn't being in business as an airline about actually flying the routes you say you're going to and not cancelling them at the last minute.  

Ryanair apologises sincerely for the inconvenience caused to customers by these cancellations, the press release says, of course, the airline apologises, but what are they going to do about it?
Are they going to employ more staff to cover holidays?   Nope.
Are they going to wet lease aircraft and crew to operate those cancelled flights? Nope.
Are they going to automatically reaccumulate passengers on alternative flights so the passengers don't have to search for alternatives themselves with less than half a days notice?  Nope. 
Are they going to offer compensation?  Nope.

But hey, in the press release they apologise, so all is well and you know at the end of the year their investor's report will look a little better for their shareholders!

Ryanair’s Robin Kiely (pictured on the left) said, "We apologise sincerely to the small number of customers affected by these cancellations, and will be doing our utmost to arrange alternative flights and/or full refunds for them.”

Now, I'm not saying Mr Kiely is telling lies, but really the airline is doing nothing to arrange alternative flights, it's leaving that up to the passengers themselves. And, a small number, I'm not sure it is such a small number at all, in fact, I rather think it's a massive number. Let's suppose that each of those Ryanair flights cancelled has a load of 120 passengers (I'm being generous here, their loads are usually higher) and also let's suppose it's 45 flights each day that are cancelled (A fair assumption I wager as the airline says between 40 and 50 flights each day)  so that's 5,400 passengers each day.  These cancellations are going on for at least six weeks, so that's an estimated 226,800 passengers in total that are having their flights cancelled - not quite the small number Ryanair claim. 

Jason Shaw

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