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Ryanair’s mass cancellations are a problem of its own making

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WHEN Ryanair convinced many of its pilots to take fewer holidays during peak summer-travel season, it probably thought it was being clever. But poor planning and a bit of bad luck have left the airline with a shortage of working pilots, many of whom have now taken time off, for the autumn. The shortfall has forced Ryanair to cancel some 2,100 flights starting on September 16th and continuing through October. 

Ryanair’s woes were caused in part by a change in the way the airline determines employee leave. Previously, Ryanair counted holidays in the year from April. In 2016, under pressure from the Irish Aviation Authority, Ryanair adopted the calendar year instead. As part of the transition, it needed to allow its employees to take the entirety of their leave between April and December of this year, leaving it with a staff shortage. As a result, the airline will probably have to scrap around 50 flights every day until the end of October.

This has left customers annoyed and Ryanair with a public-relations problem. Some early flights were cancelled with little notice. And Ryanair was slow to release a detailed schedule of cancellations. Until it did so on Monday, passengers who had booked flights during the affected period were unsure if they would have to change their travel plans.

Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s boss, said in a press release on Monday that the cancellations were a “mess of our own making”. Ryanair has tried to resolve the situation by finding customers other flights and by providing them with EU-mandated compensation. The Financial Times reports that the airline is likely to incur expenses of €20m ($24m) and will forego €5m in profits. 

Ryanair claims to have no overall shortage of pilots and it says similar cancellations will not occur next year. This has not prevented speculation that the company may have deeper problems. Norwegian Air, another low-cost airline, says it poached more than 140 pilots from its rival. Ryanair itself has begun to offer signing-on bonuses to attract qualified crewmembers. If this new plan works as well as Ryanair’s holiday strategy, expect it soon to have too many pilots.

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Julio Marchi ©

Publisher / Editor at BS News & Media Services
A free thinker, not labelled as anything, not associated with any party, not part of any group or engaged with any religion... A simple guy tired of the nowadays bullshit who decided to promote more serious debates about what is really happening hoping to bring back intelligence to the superficial and shallow news & headlines that unfortunately took over the existing media scene.
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