Ryanair rows timetable: Turbulent months for the airline

Cancellations fiasco and seat allocation charges failed to dent airline’s expansion

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary: He provoked outrage in September  when he suggested at a press conference that pilots have an easy job. File photograph: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary: He provoked outrage in September when he suggested at a press conference that pilots have an easy job. File photograph: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

 

A row over seat allocation charges, cancellations and pilots’ unrest have contributed to a turbulent few months at Ryanair.

June Passengers complain that Ryanair’s seat allocation policy separates those travelling together, forcing them to pay charges beginning at €2 if they want to sit alongside each other.

July Chief executive Michael O’Leary turns up on RTÉ 1’s Liveline show and tells passengers not willing to pay for allocated seats to “stop whingeing”.

July Ryanair’s timekeeping deteriorates. Bad weather and air-traffic control strikes delay 11,730 flights. The number of customer complaints also rises.

September 14th Ryanair shares fall 4.4 per cent following a European Court of Justice ruling on employee disputes which analysts say could cost up to €100 million annually. The airline says it will make no difference to costs.

September 15th Ryanair announces that it will cancel an average of 50 flights a day for the succeeding six weeks, affecting about 315,000 passengers.

September 18th O’Leary apologises for the problem, confirms that it relates to pilots’ leave and the company begins to clarify what flights it intends cancelling.

September 21st O’Leary apologises to shareholders at Ryanair’s annual general meeting.

September 21st O’Leary provokes outrage when he suggests at a press conference that pilots have an easy job. The remarks overshadow several conciliatory comments made about pilots.

September 27th Ryanair announces that it will fly 25 fewer aircraft than planned over the winter season, leading to cancellations affecting about 400,000 passengers from November through to March, but eliminating risk of further rostering problems.

November 2nd Figures showing Ryanair passengers grew 8 per cent to 11.8 million in October indicate that the cancellations row failed to dent the airline’s expansion.

December 8th The Irish Times reports that Ryanair-employed members of the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association – part of trade union Impact – are balloting for industrial action.

December 12th Impact announces that Ryanair members will strike on Wednesday December 20th. German pilot union VC confirms that its members at the airline also plan a stoppage.

December 13th Portuguese pilots say they will also strike on December 20th while VC indicates that its action will take place at around the same time.

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