Ryanair boss admits flight cancellations are a 'mess' as it's revealed they'll have to pay out €20 million in compensation

Some 12 flights to and from Dublin Airport have been cancelled today, with up to 50 flights a day still to be cancelled in the next six weeks.

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary has held his hands up and admitted the cancelled flights fiasco is a "mess" - and it's all their own fault - writes dublinlive.ie.

Ryanair have released a list of flights that have been cancelled for the coming days, including many in Dublin.

Some 12 flights to and from Dublin Airport have been cancelled today, with up to 50 flights a day still to be cancelled in the next six weeks.

The airline announced last week they would be cancelling a raft of flights so workers can catch up on leave, causing travel chaos for many passengers.

But there has been uproar as travellers have been left in limbo, and Ryanair now say they're preparing for up to €20 million in compensation claims and €5 million in lost fares as a result of the cancellations.

Ryanair blamed a number of factors for the sudden cancellations, including a backlog of staff leave, which must be taken by the end of the year. Europe's largest airline by passenger numbers also said air traffic control strikes and weather disruption were affecting its performance.

Chief Executive Michael O'Leary promised the problem would not recur in 2018 but said there would be a "large reputational impact" from the cancellations.

He added: "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 98% of flights that will be unaffected by these cancellations.

"While over 98% 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.

"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 1 Jan to 31 December 2018.

Rival Norwegian Air revealed today that it had recruited more than 140 pilots from Ryanair this year, adding to the squeeze on staffing. Although O'Leary insisted today they're not short of pilots and were able to fully crew its peak summer schedule.

He said: "It is clearly a mess but in the context of an operation where we operate more than 2,500 flights every day, it is reasonably small but that doesn't take away the inconvenience we've caused to people."

He said the problems were not the result of pilots quitting but was "because we're giving pilots lots of holidays over the next four months."

Every passenger who is entitled to compensation will receive it in full, he added.

Seeking to halt a decline in performance figures, Ryanair has taken the unusual step of announcing plans to cancel between 40 and 50 flights per day until the end of October.

Ryanair said the cancellations were designed "to improve its system-wide punctuality which has fallen below 80% in the first two weeks of September" and as low as 70% in the days before the drastic move to cancel flights was taken.

While it currently calculates crew leave from April to March, the Irish Aviation Authority is forcing it to calculate it from January to December from the start of 2018, it added.

Read also more news of Dublin here.

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