'Appalling treatment' - Ryanair passengers vent fury as airline to cancel 'up to 50 flights' a day for next six weeks

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Simon Calder © Independent.co.uk

Up to 9,000 Ryanair passengers a day face having their travel plans wrecked as the airline cancels “40 to 50” flights a day until the end of October.

The budget airline, which is Europe’s largest, said the move was to “improve its system-wide punctuality”.

Ryanair blames "a combination of ATC capacity delays and strikes, weather disruptions and the impact of increased holiday allocations to pilots and cabin crew".

The airline is changing its April-to-March annual leave calendar to a January-to-December model. As a result flight crews are seeking to take their full allocation of holiday, leaving Ryanair’s most ambitious summer schedule short of staff.

In a statement Ryanair said it has a backlog of crew leave. “These tighter crewing numbers and the impact of ATC capacity restrictions in the UK, Germany and Spain, as well as French ATC strikes and adverse weather (thunderstorms) have given rise to significant delays in recent weeks.”

Ryanair’s on-time performance has declined from 90 per cent to under 80 per cent over the past two weeks, which the airline says “is unacceptable to Ryanair and its customers”.

The airline says the cancellations “will create additional standby aircraft which will help restore on-time performance”.

It added: “Customers will be contacted directly about this small number of cancellations and offered alternative flights or full refunds.”

If Ryanair does not have a suitable alternative flight, affected passengers are entitled to be booked on rival airlines. They must also be provided with meals and accommodation until they reach their destination.

Depending on the amount of notice given, they could also qualify for EU compensation of up to €400 (£352).

Customers took to social media this evening to vent their fury at the controversial decision.

Shane Collender wrote on Twitter: "@Ryanair Appalling treatment of customers. I had to book my flight home with @AerLingus on Sunday because you cancelled at short notice."

Louis Hervik‏ wrote: "So you're cancelling my trip less than a week in advance because you haven't scheduled in staff holiday? What the f**k is wrong with you!"

Most web users were contacting the airline to ask if their specific flight had been cancelled.

On Boards.ie one user spoke of their anger: "Am really dissapointed. Flight cancelled with less than 48 hours notice and no explanation. Family upset. Ryanair livechat appear to be arranging alternative flight with one connection, then when asked to complete the deal then offer only flight into same country, hire car and they may no offer re-imbursement.

"He then transfers to other agent who asked for detailed account of previous chat and then cut us off while typing after less than 30 seconds

"Now hotel are fully paid and too late to cancel, tickets to Museums bought and bus tickets bought. And they knew this was coming

"They won't even give a reason for cancellation. Probably claim it was beyond their control"