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Cork Independent


Cork Airport unaffected as travel plans up in the air

Thursday, 21st September, 2017 9:25am

By Emma Connolly 

Cork Airport has not been included in Ryanair’s flight cancellation list, with daily services continuing to run as normal.

Thousands of passengers are facing major travel disruption over the next six weeks with up to 50 Ryanair flights a day being grounded until 31 October.

The flight cancellations – announced last Friday - are due to a change in the way Irish airlines record pilot’s flight hours for EU rules.

A pilot can only fly 900 hours a year, and 100 hours in any one month.

On Monday, the airline released a full list of all the flights they plan to axe over the next six weeks however prior to this Ryanair were only providing information on the cancellations a few days in advance.

Dublin features as one of the airports most affected with London Stansted also badly hit.

Cormac Meehan, President of The Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA), described the ongoing saga as a “moving target” and said it is unlikely Cork people will not be affected.

Mr Meehan expressed strong concern over the cancellation of flights by Ryanair at short notice and said the uncertainty of their actions has caused “great unease” amongst intending travellers.

“This action has caused severe problems for thousands of travellers travelling to and from Ireland. For many, holiday plans have been ruined by this action where the option to change holiday accommodation is not possible or can only be done at a significant cost,” he stated.

While flights in and out of Cork have so far escaped cancellations, Mr Meehan said the disruption would have a knock on effect on Cork Airport which is used by many American and Canadian travellers to connect to Europe.

The ITAA has already said it is expecting a high volume of claims for compensation from travellers affected by the cancellations. Mr Meehan added, “The ITAA condemn this action at such short notice. Ryanair have shown utter disdain on the consumer.”

An apology from Ryanair was issued on its website, with CEO Michael O’Leary acknowledging that the airline had “messed up”.

“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 September and October because we are trying to allocate a full year’s leave into a nine 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 January to 31 December 2018,” he stated.

“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,” he added.

Cork MEP Deirdre Clune noted that the uncertainty over flight cancellations is having an impact on both tourism and business travellers. The MEP said Ryanair have a “duty of care to their passengers”.

“The passenger-rights regulation known as EC261 is there to balance the rights of passengers with the needs of airlines. That provides for compensation and a host of other rights for passengers in the event of delay or cancellation of a flight. If passengers don’t want to apply for their entitlements themselves, there are a host of private companies such aswho will apply for you for a small commission.”

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