Budget carrier Ryanair published this week the definitive list of the flights it has been forced to cancel due to bad planning of its pilots’ vacations. In total, from September 15 to October 28, the Irish company will be axing 2,259 flights, according to calculations made by EL PAÍS. A quarter of them either fly out of or arrive in a Spanish airport, with the highest volumes at Barcelona’s El Prat, and Madrid’s Adolfo Suárez-Barajas.
While Ryanair’s decision to execute this mass cancellation came to light in Spain on Saturday, the company had issued a press release on Friday announcing that it was to cancel 40 to 50 flights a day over six weeks. In fact, the airline had already canceled 83 flights on Friday September 15. On Saturday there were 80 cancellations, and on Sunday, 82. Over the two previous weeks, punctuality had fallen below 80% due to problems with pilot vacations, according to the company itself. However, until Monday afternoon the total number of canceled flights was not known.
Adolfo Suárez-Madrid Barajas will lose 196 flights to a variety of European destinations
According to EL PAÍS’ calculations, the total number comes in at 2,259, including last weekend’s cancellations. This newspaper was unable, however, to determine exactly how many of the 83 cancellations last Friday originated or terminated in a Spanish airport. Leaving aside Friday, from Saturday September 16 to October 28, there will be 2,176 cancellations, of which 564 – 25.9% – involve an origin or destination in Spain.
Among Spanish airports, the worst affected is Barcelona-El Prat, which will lose 302 flights to European cities such as Rome, London, Porto and Birmingham. Meanwhile, Adolfo Suárez-Madrid Barajas will lose 196 flights to destinations such as London, Santiago de Compostela, Berlin, Dublin and Porto. Other Spanish airports affected, albeit to a lesser extent, include Ibiza, Palma, Castellón, Alicante and Santiago de Compostela.
Irish consultancy firm Goodbody Stockbrokers puts the compensation figure as high as €34.5 million
All of these cancellations are due to poor vacation planning for the 4,200 pilots who work for the airline – in the words of the company’s marketing officer Kenny Jacobs, “a mess-up” of their own making, and one that is expected to cost them at least €25 million in passenger compensation alone.
According to Irish consultancy firm Goodbody Stockbrokers, that figure could reach as much as €34.5 million, with €23.5 due in compensation to passengers, €6.3 million in airport taxes, and €4.7 million in covering food, drink and hotel stays for those who have been left stranded by the cancellations. What’s more, the company estimates that Ryanair could lose as much as 2.3% of the nearly €1.5 billion of profits that the airline is forecasting for this year.
English version by Simon Hunter.