Ryanair lists six-week flight cancellations over pilots’ annual leave


Posted by Sade Williams


Ryanair has published a list of flights it will cancel over the next six weeks as it seeks to extract itself from its self-inflicted problems over pilot leave.


The Irish airline said last week it would cancel up to 2 percent of all flights as system-wide punctuality had fallen to below 80 percent in September.


By cancelling flights, it said it will have additional standby aircraft to help restore on-time performance to 90 percent.


The need to cancel flights is partly because Ryanair is moving the leave year for its pilots and cabin crew from the current April-March period to January-December next year. For 2017, it means annual pilot leave has to be crammed into the nine months between April and December.


Airwise.com said Chief executive Michael O‘Leary accepted responsibility for what he called the “mess up”.


“Ryanair is not short of pilots,” he said, “we were able to fully crew our peak summer schedule in June, July and August – but we have messed up the allocation of annual leave to pilots in September and October because we are trying to allocate a full year’s leave into a nine month period from April to December.


“This issue will not recur in 2018 as Ryanair goes back onto a 12 month calendar leave year from January 1st to December 31st, 2018.”


O’Leary said there would be a reputational hit because of the cancellations, with tens of thousands of passengers affected. He issued an apology on behalf of the airline for the disruption.


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