Ryanair has announced it is cancelling a further 18,000 flights, affecting almost half a million passengers, between November and March.
A total of 34 routes will be suspended over the winter, including London Stansted to Edinburgh, Newcastle to Faro, London Gatwick to Belfast and Glasgow to Las Palmas.
The low-cost airline has said it has offered all 400,000 passengers affected the choice between a refund or an alternative flight.
Ryanair has described the move as “slowing its growth”, saying it will fly 25 fewer aircraft of its 400-strong fleet in order to “eliminate all risk of further flight cancellations because slower growth creates lots of spare aircraft and crews across Ryanair’s 86 bases this winter.”
Passengers impacted by the suspended routes will also receive a €40 (€80 return) travel voucher which will allow them to book a flight on any Ryanair service between October and March 2018.
Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said: “We sincerely apologise to those customers who have been affected by last week’s flight cancellations or these sensible schedule changes announced today. While over 99 per cent of our 129 million customers will not have been affected by any cancellations or disruptions, we deeply regret any doubt we caused existing customers last week about Ryanair’s reliability, or the risk of further cancellations.
“From today, there will be no more rostering-related flight cancellations this winter or in summer 2018. Slower growth this winter will create lots of spare aircraft and crews, which will allow us to manage the exceptional volumes of annual leave we committed to delivering in the nine months to December 2017. We will start a new 12-month leave period on the 1 January 2018 in full compliance with EU regulations and the IAA’s requirements.
“All of the passengers who have been affected by these disruptions have now been offered re-accommodation or full refunds and their applicable EU261 entitlements. In addition, today they are receiving a travel voucher which they may use to book any Ryanair flight of their choice during October for travel between October and March 2018. We look forward to welcoming them all on board.”
The latest cancellations come after Ryanair was forced to cancel 1,616 flights between 19 September to 28 October after “messing up in the planning of pilot holidays”.
The airline listed all flight cancellations on its website, with some of the worst affected routes being London Stansted to Rome, Berlin, Warsaw, Sofia and Oslo.
Ryanair has already started rolling out low fares to tempt passengers to book, offering one million flights for £9.99 one-way trips during October, November and December.
The budget carrier came under fire recently for offering some cabin crew members an ultimatum whereby they have to move to Europe for six weeks at their own expense or take unpaid leave.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies