Ryanair cancellations announcement causes customer anger and confusion
RYANAIR'S decision to cancel up to 50 flights a day has prompted anger and confusion among passengers due to fly from airports across Ireland including Belfast International.
Several Ryanair flights to and from Dublin Airport were among those cancelled by the budget airline over the weekend as part of a move to tackle punctuality and staff shortages.
The budget airline's chief marketing officer said the company was “working hard to fix” the problem, which will affect around two per cent of flights until the end of October.
Ryanair said it needed to improve the punctuality of its flights and clear a backlog of staff holiday entitlement.
Belfast International Airport, the budget airline's base in the north, was yesterday not commenting on Ryanair's surprise announcement.
It is believed that two flights from Aldergrove to London Gatwick yesterday were unaffected.
Furious travellers however have demanded that the budget airline provide immediate clarity over cancelled flights.
The airline has only published a list for Sunday despite announcing cancellations of between 1,500 to 2,000 flights over the next six weeks.
The airline said it sent an email to anybody who was booked on a flight up to, and including, Wednesday September 20 which has been cancelled but it has not said when people are booked to travel after that date will be notified.
However, one customer who is due to fly to Italy with Ryanair from Belfast this weekend said he was “angry and confused”.
“The announcement came like a bolt from the blue and has potentially thrown all my plans up in the air,” the customer said.
“I've tried getting answers from Ryanair but to no avail, which means I have no idea whether my flight is still on or not.”
Ryanair chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said the airline had "messed up" the planning of pilot holidays but that it was "working hard to fix" the problem.
Ryanair said air traffic control (ATC) delays and strikes, bad weather and a backlog of annual leave to be taken by pilots and cabin crew had led to punctuality falling to below 80 per cent over the last two weeks.
The airline said this figure was "unacceptable" and apologised to affected customers, who it said will be offered alternative flights or refunds.
Customers have been advised to check their email regularly before flying.
Passengers have demanded the publishes a full list of the flights to be cancelled over the next six weeks.
Grandmother Karen Litton was due to fly from Knock to Stansted to meet her first granddaughter on Wednesday.
However, the estate agent has been left devastated after Ryanair cancelled her flight.
"I am heartbroken.
"I was due to fly over to meet my new granddaughter Margot on Wednesday.
"I was going to spend a week with my daughter to help out as her husband is starting back to work after his paternity leave. We are all so disappointed," she said.
Mrs Litton said she has been unable to contact the airline to re-book her flights or apply for compensation.
"It is very frustrating. Everything seems to have just physically shut down.
"Every time I try to go on the website to re-book flights it doesn't let me....," she said.
"Knock airport is just a 40 minute drive away for me and their times always suited me but how they are treating people now is a disgrace."