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Ryanair will cancel up to 50 flights a day over the next six weeks as it seeks to “improve its system-wide punctuality” which has fallen below 80% in the first two weeks of September.”
Ryanair blamed air traffic control delays, strikes and weather disruptions as causes of delays outside its control. It is also in the process of moving its flight crews’ annual leave year from the current April-March period to a calendar year. During the transition, there will be a nine month leave period which has added complexity to the change.
Ryanair has operated at record schedule and traffic levels during the peak summer months of July (12.6m guests) and August (12.7m guests) but has a backlog of crew leave which must be allocated before 31st Dec 2017 in order to switch to a calendar leave year (as required by the IAA) from 1st Jan 2018 onwards.
These tighter crewing numbers and the impact of ATC capacity restrictions in the UK, Germany and Spain, as well as French ATC strikes and adverse weather (thunderstorms) have given rise to significant delays in recent weeks.
Ryanair’s on-time performance has declined from 90% to under 80% over the past two weeks.
By reducing its scheduled flying programme over the next six weeks by less than 2% (of its over 2,500 daily flights), the airline will create additional standby aircraft which will help restore on-time performance to its 90% average.