Revealed: The airports most affected by Ryanair's flight cancellations
- Michael O'Leary: 'This is a mess of our own making'
- Ryanair 'are not short of pilots... but messed up allocation of annual leave' - O'Leary
- Airline released list of airports due to be most affected in coming weeks
- Full schedule of cancelled flights from Sept 21 - Oct 31 to be published later
- Move has attracted controversy
- Ryanair preparing for up to €20m in compensation claims - spokesperson
- All you need to know about Ryanair travel chaos
Ryanair has published a list of the airports that will bear the brunt of its flight cancellations to October 31.
Several airports, including Dublin, will be most affected, with at least one "line of flying" removed from each over the next six weeks as follows:
- Barcelona: 1 of 12 lines of flights
- Brussels Charleroi: 1 of 13 lines of flights
- Dublin: 1 of 23 lines of flights
- Lisbon: 1 of 4 lines of flights
- London Stansted: 2 of 41 lines of flights
- Madrid: 1 of 13 lines of flights
- Milan Bergamo: 1 of 14 lines of flights
- Porto: 1 of 8 lines of flights
- Rome Fiumicino: 1 of 3 lines of flights
A "line of flight" refers to the schedule of flights an aircraft operates in a day.
The cancellations have been allocated "where possible" to Ryanair's bigger base airports and routes with multiple daily frequencies to minimise inconvenience, it says.
The full schedule of cancelled flights from September 21 to October 31 will be published later today - follow Independent.ie for the news as it happens.
The list of cancelled flights up to and including Wednesday, September 20, is here.
Up to 50 flights a day are being cancelled over the next six weeks as Ryanair moves to reduce a backlog of holidays for staff and improve punctuality.
The move has attracted fierce controversy, throwing into chaos the travel plans of what could be over 9,160 customers a day, given its recent load factors.
The airline has "apologised unreservedly" to affected customers, who will be emailed with offers of alternative routings or refunds, it says.
"It is clearly a mess but in context of an operational where we operate more than 2,500 flights a day it is reasonably small," Michael O'Leary said earlier.
Speaking at a press conference this afternoon Mr O'Leary said the airline is trying to allocate a large amount of annual leave, principally to Ryanair pilots.
"We are not short of pilots. What we have messed up is the allocation of holidays. We don't have enough stand-by coverage to cover the inevitable disruptions that happen - air traffic control disruption and weather," he said.
"We don't have enough pilots in September and October to allocate the leave.
"As we take disruptions - eg thunder storms this weekend in Barcelona - and as crew and aircraft get stuck, there are no back-up crews available.
"We need to take out about 50 flights a day over the next six weeks while we have these crewing issues."
The cancellations will affect less than 2pc of customers the airline has said.
He said no heads will roll following Ryanair's mass cancellation of flights.
"We balls-ed it up," said Mr O'Leary at a press conference this afternoon. "I don't think heads will roll because the heads are fixing this."
He said about 75pc of passengers will be able to get another flight on the same day and that every customer will be compensated according to EU rules.
Almost 400,000 people will be affected by the cancellations.
"While over 98pc of our customers will not be affected by these cancellations over the next 6 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," Michael O'Leary said in a statement released to media.
"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 9 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.
"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 98pc of flights that will be unaffected by these cancellations."
The Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) has said their members are "inundated" with queries from customers.
“Our members have been inundated with queries from intending travellers who are uncertain if their flights will go ahead. We have written to Ryanair requesting them to publish a full list of all flights they intend to cancel immediately to ease the uncertainty faced by intending travellers and so that alternative holiday arrangements can be made as soon as possible," Cormac Meehan, President of the ITAA said.