Eight Dublin flights among 82 cancelled by Ryanair on Sunday

Tourism ‘instability’: Flood of compensation claims expected from airline’s customers

 

Eight Dublin flights, four in and four out, are among 82 that have been cancelled by Ryanair on Sunday, September 17th, as the low-fares airline continues with its six-week programme of flight cancellations.

Flights between Dublin and Amsterdam, Nantes, Frankfurt and Santander are on the list of Sunday flights that are to be cancelled which has been published by Ryanair.

While the airline intends to cancel approximately 50 flights a day over the coming month and a half, a higher daily number have been cancelled this weekend.

For today, Saturday, flights between Dublin and London, Paris, Barcelona, Edinburgh, Madrid and Amsterdam are among the large number cancelled across Europe.

Kenny Jacobs of Ryanair said cancellation notices for flights cancelled up to and including Wednesday, September 20th, have been sent to affected customers and that the airline will continue to send regular updates and post flight information on its website.

“We apologise to all affected customers for these cancellations. We have messed up in the planning of pilot holidays and we’re working hard to fix that.”

High volume of claims

The Commission for Aviation Regulation (Car), which oversees air passenger rights, has said it is expecting a high volume of claims for compensation from Irish travellers affected by the Ryanair cancellations. The organisation assists consumers in seeking compensation from airlines and does not charge a fee.

A spokesman for the body has said that anyone affected by the Ryanair programme of flight cancellations is entitled to a choice of refund or re-routing. Compensation may also be payable depending on the notice period Ryanair has given.

Ryanair has announced it is going to operate a programme of flight cancellations over the next six weeks because of pilot shortage difficulties. The disruptions to its flights schedule will affect thousands of travellers, including some who are abroad and are expecting to return home with the airline.

Cancelled Ryanair flights, Sunday, September 17th

Car has issued a statement advising affected Ryanair customers to consult its website (www.aviationreg.ie) which sets out the compensation rights for people affected by the surprise Ryanair move.

Customers are entitled to new flights as close as possible to the original departure time, flights at a later date, or a refund.

Passengers who turn up at the airport to find their flight has been cancelled may be entitled to meals and refreshments, hotel accommodation if necessary, and certain transport and communications costs.

Extraordinary circumstances

This is unless the airline can prove the cancellation was caused by extraordinary circumstances.

People may be entitled to compensation payments of between €250 and €400 per cancelled flight, depending on the distance of the flight. This is separate to the reimbursement of expenses and/or the refund of the cost of an unused flight ticket, that might occur.

The surprise announcement by Ryanair on Friday introducing a programme of flight cancellations across its network will ruin many people’s holiday plans because the option to change accommodation can only be done at significant cost, the president of the Irish Travel Agents Association has said.

The Ryanair move has brought “instability” into the Irish tourism market, said Cormac Meehan, who called on the airline to publish a full list now of all the flights they intend to cancel.

‘Great unease’

“The uncertainty of their actions is causing great unease amongst intending travellers,” he said, adding the the association condemned such a move at such short notice. “Ryanair have shown utter disdain for the consumer. We look forward to the response from the Commission for Aviation Regulation.”

The airline said the cancellations, which have already begun, were due to a number of factors including air traffic control strikes, weather disruption, and the need to meet a requirement for holiday time for its crews following the introduction of a new roster structure as required by regulators.

The latter is a reference to a requirement from the Irish Aviation Authority that Irish airlines use the calendar year when operating the rules on the annual amount of flying hours allowed for each pilot.

The imposition of this rule appears to have put huge strain on the ability of Ryanair to operate its schedule.

The airlines said that “by cancelling less than 2 per cent of our flying programme over the next six weeks, (until our winter schedule starts in early November) we can improve the operational resilience of our schedules.”

Passengers who took to social media described the disruption to their plans caused by the airline’s move.

In Rome, Alex Currie (26) arrived at check-in with his grandmother Mary McEvoy (69) to find their flight had been cancelled. They had not been informed prior to arriving at the airport at 8.30am, he said.

“The only way to describe it was bedlam. There was one Ryanair person trying to deal with everyone,” he said, explaining that other stranded passengers had differing ideas of what had happened and what solutions were available.

Mr Currie said it would have cost him and his grandmother almost €1,000 in total to book alternative flights with another airline and so they managed to negotiate a deal with their hotel to remain for the weekend.

“No one seemed to know why [the flight was cancelled],” he said. “There was only this one woman behind the counter . . . no one to offer any kind of support that you would need in a situation like that.”