Ryanair “flight dump” sees Porto airport “worst hit”

The extraordinary decision by low-cost airline Ryanair to dump hundreds of flights worldwide in a bid to catch-up on staff holiday entitlement has so far seen Porto’s Sá Carneiro airport “worst hit” in Portugal.

In the first three days of this week, no less than 20 Ryanair flight were cancelled from either leaving or arriving at the airport, reports Público.

Lisbon and Faro arrivals and departures were also being affected, though less violently.

Faro, for example, is seeing flights lopped from Manchester and Luton schedules, while others are still going ahead.

The worst of Ryanair’s decision, announced on Saturday, was that it gave passengers no advance warning and no information on refunds or compensation.

This has now be rectified with a list taking in all cancelled flights, but the damage to Ryanair’s reputation has already seen a purported £500 million wiped off the airline’s share value.

The “flightmare” is hitting Portugal, Spain, France and Germany hardest, explained Público on Monday.

And the outrage from dissatisfied customers has been resounding over social media.

As the airline has tried to explain, the cancellations are designed to “improve punctuality which reduced to less than 80% in the first two weeks of September”.

Ryanair’s head of communications Robin Kiely stressed that “by cancelling less than 2% of our flying programme over the next six weeks, until our winter schedule starts in early November, we can improve the operational resilience of our schedules and restore punctuality to our annualised target of 90%.”

But “less than 2%” of the flying programme translates into the travel plans of no less than 400,000, with a final compensation bill to be faced by Ryanair expected to run to £18 million at the very least, reports the UK’s Daily Mail.

In fact, social media now has a provocative story circulating along the lines of “Ryanair lottery… buy a flight for £9.99 and hope it gets cancelled – get £400 compensation!”

Stories in the UK tabloid press have also suggested the situation has been caused by pilot shortages as Ryanair’s fliers ‘move to pastures new’.


As the situation seems to be spiralling to new depths – UK tabloids report that disgruntled Ryanair pilots “are trying to organise a protest” that would prompt even further flight cancellations – Portuguese nationals have also been caught up in the chaos.

Diário de Notícias claims that a number of Portuguese are stranded abroad, with no money to pay for further hotel stays, and no flights out for “several days”.

Complaints to consumer association DECO and civil aviation authority ANAC are coming in thick and fast as this looks like a drama that will be flying high for days to come.

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