Some Prague flights affected by Ryanair cancellations

The budget airline 'messed up' in calculating time off for pilots

Low-cost carrier Ryanair has canceled some flights to Prague. The airline says it “messed up” in scheduling vacation time for pilots and as a result it has to cancel 40 to 50 flights a day over the next six weeks until Oct. 31. This is less than 2 percent of their flights, though.

The cancellations are mainly at Ryanair’s bigger base airports and routes with multiple daily frequencies so that Ryanair can offer customers alternate flights and routes.

The affected flights to Prague leave from London Stanstead, but only a few flights are affected. “Your flight is operating as usual unless you receive an email,” Ryaniar said on its website. Ryaniar will try to book people onto alternative flights. Passengers can also change their flights of cancel them without paying a fee.

“While over 98 percent of our customers will not be affected by these cancellations over the next six weeks, we apologise unreservedly to those customers whose travel will be disrupted, and assure them that we have done our utmost to try to ensure that we can re-accommodate most of them on alternative flights on the same or next day,” Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said in a press release.

According to the airline, about 400,000 passengers will be affected. The airline added that it will follow the EU rules regarding compensation, but will not be booking passengers on to other airlines as that is not required.

If passengers are given more than 14 days' notice of a cancellation, they are not entitled to compensation, the BBC reported.

“Ryanair is not short of pilots – 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 Sept and Oct 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 1st Jan to 31st December 2018,” he added.

The airline takes full responsibility for the problems. “This is a mess of our own making. I apologise sincerely to all our customers for any worry or concern this has caused them over the past weekend. We have only taken this decision to cancel this small proportion of our 2,500 daily flights so that we can provide extra standby cover and protect the punctuality of the 98 percent of flights that will be unaffected by these cancellations,” O’Leary said.

Ryanair stock prices fell on the news, due to the liability for claims. The BBC said that claims could amount to EUR 20 million. Passengers can claim EUR 250 euros for short-haul flights, EUR 440 for medium-haul and EUR 600 euros for long-haul, if they fall within the 14 day window.

The airline informed pilots of the problem on Sept. 13 but did not issue a press release for the public or a full list of affected flights until Sept. 18, due to public pressure on social media from concerned passengers.

Ryanair was founded in 1984 with primary operational bases at Dublin and London Stansted airports. In 2016, Ryanair was the largest European airline by scheduled passengers flown, and carried more international passengers than any other airline, according to the Irish Times.

A full list of canceled flights can be found here

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