Shorter Ryanair staff rosters raise fears over holiday cutbacks

Flight cancellations due to Italian thunderstorms or French ATC not entitled to compensation

Ryanair chief executive  Michael O’Leary at the company’s AGM last week.  Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary at the company’s AGM last week. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw


Rosters issued to Ryanair staff have reportedly only offered shift details for the coming three weeks rather than the usual four week advance notice.

The move raises among pilots that the airline may be preparing to take back allocated leave.

The airline’s chief executive Michael O’Leary said last week pilots due to take a four-week block of holidays in the next few months because a change in annual leave rotas will be told to reduce that to three weeks. He said they will get the other week back in January.

Ryanair declined to comment on the report of the three week roster.

The move comes as the airline works to meet its commitment of providing over 95 per cent of passengers affected by flight cancellations with alternative flights or refunds by Sunday.

The airline announced last week it would be cancelling up to 50 flights per day over the following six weeks in a move that would affect about 350,000 passengers.

The airline said the decision was taken to meet a requirement for holiday time for its crews following the introduction of a new roster structure as required by regulators.

A spokesman for the airline said on Friday it expects to have processed more than 300,000 alternative routings or refunds for customers by Sunday. He said the commitment was to have provided support within six days of when customers were notified of their flight cancellations.

Asked whether passengers could begin booking flights for the Christmas period without fear of cancellation, the spokesman said there would be no further cancellations as a result of the rostering issue and that “all of these cancellations have been made”.

However, he added that “no airline can ever ‘rule out’ occasional cancellations due to ATC (air traffic control) or weather issues”.

Ryanair has posted on its website a list of flight cancellations that will affect passengers travelling up until the October 28th.

Any flights cancelled by the airline after October 2nd will not qualify for compensation, according to the Commission for Aviation Regulation.

Ryanair said it had assessed all the impacted flights within the 14 day period of cancellations and that only passengers travelling on flights between September 10th and October 2nd, which were cancelled as a result of Ryanair’s scheduling issues, would receive compensation.

Passengers have been advised that their flight will operate as normal unless they receive an email from the airline. Those with cancelled flights have two options - to avail of a refund or change the cancelled flight for free. Passengers claiming expenses or compensation must contact Ryanair directly.

The airline has said it will deal with applications within four to six weeks and those who do not agree with the decision can refer the matter to the Commission for Aviation Regulation.

Passengers whose flights are cancelled due to thunderstorms in Italy or the French air traffic controllers strike will not be entitled to compensation as these issues are “outside of Ryanair’s control”, the airline said.

Affected passengers are encouraged to checkflightrights.iefor guidance on the complaints process. The Irish Commission for Aviation Regulation can provide support to passengers flying from Irish airports, while people flying from other European cities should contact the relevant enforcement body in that country.

Ryanair has denied claims that pilots leaving the company to join rival carriers such as Norwegian Air was behind the problems that forced them to cancel such a large number of flights.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said on Thursday at the company’s AGM that he was planning to offer pilots in Dublin and other bases an extra €10,000 a year to stop them joining rival airlines. However, pilots in Dublin, Shannon and Barcelona as well as other bases have rejected the offer of receiving up to €12,000 to buy back a week of their leave.