Low-cost airline Ryanair this morning published a list of flights it will cancel up to the end of october, and Malta is not among them.
A spokesman for the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) said he does not expect any Malta-based routes to be affected.
The low-cost airline on Friday announced it would be cancelling up to 50 flights per day for the next six weeks “to improve its system-wide punctuality, which fell below 80 percent in the first two weeks of September”.
The airline also admitted, however, that it had “messed up” the planning of its pilots’ holidays, with most of the cancellations reportedly due to a backlog of staff leave.
A Pisa-Malta flight was cancelled on Sunday, leaving passengers fuming.
Replying to questions from Times of Malta, an MTA spokeswoman said that information obtained from Ryanair’s senior management advised that no Maltese routes were known to be affected.
“Flights starting their journey from Malta and returning to Malta are not known to be subject to any cancellations at this stage.
“The MTA will continue to monitor the situation over the coming days,” the spokeswoman said.
Ryanair last night published the full list of flight cancellation between this Thursday and the end of October and Malta does not feature so far.
"These cancellations have been allocated where possible, to Ryanair’s bigger base airports, and routes with multiple daily frequencies so that Ryanair can offer these disrupted customers the maximum number of alternate flights and routes in order to minimise inconvenience to them," the airline said. (Please click on the pdf below)
The full list of these flight cancellations (from Thurs 21st to Thurs Oct 31st) will appear on the Ryanair.com website later today, and customers affected by these cancellations will be emailed with offers of alternative flights or full refunds, and details of their €261 compensation entitlement, the airline added.
The airline said earlier that it is preparing for up to €20 million in compensation claims after the cancellations, but analysts estimated that the total cost could be higher.
Apart from the backlog in staff leave, Europe’s largest airline, in terms of passenger numbers, also said air traffic control strikes and weather disruption were affecting its performance.
Its rival Norwegian Air said yesterday that it had recruited more than 140 pilots from Ryanair this year, which amplified the squeeze on staffing. “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,” Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary told Sky News.
He said that 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, Mr O’Leary explained.
While Ryanair currently calculates crew leave from April to March, the Irish Aviation Authority is forcing it to calculate leave from January to December from the start of 2018, he added.