Low-cost carrier will dump 18,000 more flights between November 2017 and March 2018
A second round of Ryanair flight cancellations is projected to stop the plans of around 400,000 flyers, as the airline attempts to realign its schedule to prevent future disruptions. The carrier announced they will reduce their growth by grounding 25 aircraft starting in November, followed by a second round of holds beginning April 2018.
The airline claims slowing growth plans by grounding 34 routes over the winter allows pilots to schedule vacation, reduce the number of cancellations due to unavailable equipment and continue airfare sales plans after the holiday season. According to The Guardian, the most affected terminals include Sofia Airport (SOF) in Bulgaria, Hamburg Airport (HAM) in Germany and Trapani Airport (TPS) on the Italian island of Sicily.
While the carrier praised the “widespread support” of their pilots, the reason for the new cancellations could be related to those same aviators. The Telegraph speculates the new round of stopped flights are due to pilots being unwilling to accept a $16,000 payout from the carrier in exchange for one week of vacation time. Executives say this will be the final announced schedule disruption this season.
“From today, there will be no more rostering related flight cancellations this winter or in summer 2018,” airline chief executive Michael O’Leary said in a statement. “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 9 months to Dec 2017. We will start a new 12 month leave period on the 1st of Jan 2018 in full compliance with EU regulations and the IAA’s requirements.”
The original plan called for stopping over 50 flights per day, before revising that number after harsh public criticism. Government probes also forced Ryanair to revise their policy of rebooking passengers on other carriers. As a result of all cancellations, the low-cost carrier has displaced an estimated 715,000 flyers, while reducing passenger load projections by two million passengers over the 12 month period ending March 2018.