Ryanair cuts 40-50 flights a day ‘to improve punctuality’

A Ryanair poster in favour of keeping Tegel airport open is pictured in Berlin this week. Citizens will vote in a referendum on the fate of the inner-city airport on Sept 24. (Reuters photo)

DUBLIN: The budget carrier Ryanair is cancelling between 40 and 50 flights per day until the end of October, disrupting hundreds of thousands of journeys, in what it said was a bid to improve its ratio of on-time flights.

The cancellations, which began late Friday, are designed “to improve system-wide punctuality which has fallen below 80% in the first two weeks of September”, Ryanair said in a statement, describing the number of delayed flights as “unacceptable” to customers.

If the airline cancels 40 flights per day for six weeks at a load factor of 90%, approximately 285,000 journeys would be affected.

The Dublin-listed budget airline next week celebrates the fourth anniversary of its Always Getting Better campaign, which blunt-spoken chief executive Michael O’Leary has described as an effort to stop “unnecessarily pissing people off”.

Europe’s largest airline by passenger numbers sent emails to the first affected passengers on Friday, giving them the choice of a refund or an alternative flight. It said it would waive a 40-euro ($48) surcharge normally levied to change flights.

A Reuters reporter, whose flight from Dublin to Barcelona scheduled for Monday was cancelled, was offered a choice of a surcharge of 250 euros to take an earlier flight on Monday, or 60 euros to take a flight the following day.

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