Ryanair cancel up to 400000 bookings and ground Belfast route

Ryanair cancel up to 400000 bookings and ground Belfast route

Infants are also not eligible to receive the vouchers, meaning parents who had been due to fly with young children won't be issued with an extra €80 on their behalf.

Ryanair will achieve this by grounding flights from November to March by flying 25 fewer aircraft out of its fleet of 400 aircraft.

But on Wednesday the airline, Europe's largest by passenger numbers, said it would cancel flights for around 400,000 passengers in addition to 300,000 affected by earlier cancellations. The airline will be operating with 25 fewer planes until March next.

In a statement Ryanair said: "Our monthly growth from November 17 to March 2018 will slow from 9% to 4%".

The letter cites the reduction in services over the winter months as the reason for the possible withdrawal of bonuses.

The regulator's action comes after Ryanair announced it was cancelling 2,000 flights over a six-week period after the company miscalculated pilot leave.

"Less than 1% of the 50m customers Ryanair will carry this winter are affected and every one of these customers has received an email today giving them between five weeks to five months notice of these schedule changes, offering them alternative flights or full refunds of their airfare".

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Ryanair also disputed claims of an industry-wide pilot shortage, saying it has seen a surge in applications from former Gulf airline crews, as well as from Germany and Italy in the wake of the Alitalia and Air Berlin Plc insolvencies.

The company plans however to boost pilot recruitment over the next 12 months from "5.2 crews (10.4 pilots) per aircraft to 5.5 crews (11 pilots) per aircraft".

Ryanair said: "We have notified the Alitalia bankruptcy Commissioners that we will not be pursuing our interest in Alitalia or submitting any further offers for the airline".

"Ryanair's decision not to pursue the Alitalia bid is a relief, as this was always likely to be a big distraction from its core focus", said Jonathan Wober, analyst at CAPA-Centre for Aviation.

The airline also said the total cost of the flight cancellations to date was less 25m euros (£22m) and expected the cost of the free flight vouchers would be less than £22m.

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