Wednesday 21 February 2018

Aer Lingus pushes 'rescue' sale as Ryanair issues flight cancellations update

Ryanair flight cancellations

Ryanair and Aer Lingus planes. Photo: PA (Stock)
Ryanair and Aer Lingus planes. Photo: PA (Stock)
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

Aer Lingus is taking a leaf out of Ryanair's playbook, pushing a "rescue sale" as its rival struggles to process 315,000 flight cancellations.

Ryanair this afternoon provided an update on its progress in dealing with the cancellation of 2,100 flights over the next six weeks.

315,000 customers have received email notices, it says, and by close of business today it hopes to have "re-accommodated" 55pc of those.

By then, over 63,000 flight refunds will have been processed, it adds.

Meanwhile, Aer Lingus is capitalising on the crisis by extending its "winter holiday rescue fares" due to what it says is record demand from customers.

The airline is offering flights to Europe from €29.99 each-way.

Rescue sales

"We don't want to see anyone grounded this October, so we are delighted to extend our 'Happy Winter' sale to include travel from October 1 to end of February 2018," said its Chief operating Officer, Mike Rutter, in a press release.

He went on to "reassure" passengers that the IAG-owned airline "will continue to focus on providing a reliable, punctual and proudly Irish experience."

Ryanair has been quick to launch "rescue sales" in the past - including when Aer Lingus axed a proposed Dublin to Porto route this year, and last summer when CityJet cancelled its Cork Airport to London City service.

Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary. Photo: Frank McGrath
Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary. Photo: Frank McGrath

The airline has been in the wars since announcing the cancellation of up to 50 flights a day for a six-week period, ostensibly to reduce a backlog of pilot holidays and improve punctuality - a move that has been roundly criticised.

Flight cancellations update

Ryanair is working to process cancellations for 315,000 passengers - less than expected due to lower forward bookings for October, it says.

The airline has taken on extra customer service staff to work through the backlog of flight change requests and refunds, and expects to have re-accommodated over 175,000 customers on other Ryanair flights by close of business today (Wednesday).

It hopes to have the "vast majority" of refunds and re-routes processed by the end of this week, according to Kenny Jacobs, its Chief Marketing Officer.

"The vast majority of these requests are being dealt with online," he added.

"But as our call centres and chat lines are extremely busy, we ask affected customers to bear with us as we do everything we can to respond to their requests and try to resolve any problems we have created for them, for which we again sincerely apologise.”

Read more:

Ryanair Q&A: What if my flights are cancelled? Can I get compensation?

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