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Author Topic: Widespread Ryanair cancellations from September 2017 until March 2018  (Read 4761 times)
Trowres
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« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2017, 09:48:50 PM »

Seems to me that the most interesting part of this story is:

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Most of the cancellations are due to a backlog of staff leave which has seen large numbers of the airline's staff book holidays towards the end of the year.

The airline is changing its holiday year, which currently runs from April to March, to run from January to December instead.

That looks self-inflicted, and entirely predictable. Would anyone care to guess what advantage was intended from changing the holiday year?
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didcotdean
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« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2017, 10:14:17 PM »

There has also been a suggestion from other airlines that Ryanair have been leaking staff through the year. Presumably they would know if they have recruited them ...
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #17 on: September 18, 2017, 11:31:25 PM »

Reading through previous posts in this topic, Norwegian Air confirm that they have recruited 140 pilots from Ryanair, and Norwegian Air are setting up a base in Dublin - Ryanair's home ground.

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« Reply #18 on: September 19, 2017, 04:33:36 AM »

Very poor show from Ryanair, but not in my view comparable to GWR ongoing shortage of trains and drivers.

Most of those disgusted by Ryanair, can in future avoid the company if they so wish. Airlines compete with each other on both price and quality, Ryanair are arguably a low cost and low quality outfit.

GWR have an effective monopoly on many routes, if a customer is disappointed with them they cant use a competitor in most cases. The choice is GWR or drive in most cases.
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"When customers say that they want a seat, they dont mean they want to sit with their knees behind their ears so that 4 more can sit down. They mean that they want an extra coach so that 74 more can sit down"
"Capacity on intercity routes should be about number of vehicles, not compressing people"
IndustryInsider
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« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2017, 07:22:03 AM »

Hang on a minute BNM.  Its taken them 2 days to get to this point and I much suspect intense press publicity and a falling share price might have something to do with it, rather than concerns for passengers.....

2 days to get their house in order? Remarkably quick response

I very much doubt Michael Leary's response (albeit the right one) is motivated by anything other than protecting his company - he isn't known for given two hoots about his passengers.

If the ongoing GWR problems has caused such widespread press coverage then I am sure they would have been forced to act, but a couple of articles in mostly local papers means that tipping point has yet to be reached.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #20 on: September 19, 2017, 07:23:51 AM »

Very poor show from Ryanair, but not in my view comparable to GWR ongoing shortage of trains and drivers.

Most of those disgusted by Ryanair, can in future avoid the company if they so wish. Airlines compete with each other on both price and quality, Ryanair are arguably a low cost and low quality outfit.

GWR have an effective monopoly on many routes, if a customer is disappointed with them they cant use a competitor in most cases. The choice is GWR or drive in most cases.

Agreed, and at least O'Leary, unpleasant character that many consider him to be (Graham - I don't think that's libellous?  Wink ) has had the cojones to front up, admit the mistake, explain the situation and take it on the chin unlike Hopwood who has been conspicuously invisible when it comes to explaining/taking responsibility for the ever increasing failures of GWR on all fronts.
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grahame
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« Reply #21 on: September 19, 2017, 08:14:24 AM »

(Graham - I don't think that's libellous?  Wink )

I suspect you're correct, but don't look to me for legal advice on the matter.  Posters are the primary ones responsible for their own content ...

[Checked - I think that's correctly "advice" not "advise"]
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Four Track, Now!
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« Reply #22 on: September 19, 2017, 11:27:10 AM »

Seems to me that the most interesting part of this story is:

Quote
Most of the cancellations are due to a backlog of staff leave which has seen large numbers of the airline's staff book holidays towards the end of the year.

The airline is changing its holiday year, which currently runs from April to March, to run from January to December instead.

That looks self-inflicted, and entirely predictable. Would anyone care to guess what advantage was intended from changing the holiday year?

I'll have a stab.

Control of commercial pilots' flying hours changed in February 2016 from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to prepare us for Brexit. The EASA rules, like those of the CAA that preceded them, are extremely complex, and impose limitations on total hours of Flight Duty Periods (FDP) at multiple levels covering different periods of time. So there are limits per day, per week, per 28 days etc. Notably;
Quote
The total flight time of the sectors on which an individual crew member is assigned as an operating crew member
shall not exceed:
(1) 100 hours of flight time in any 28 consecutive days;
(2) 900 hours of flight time in any calendar year; and
(3) 1 000 hours of flight time in any 12 consecutive calendar months.

If there are limits to a calendar year (which seems a little arbitrary) and a 12-month period, it may be administratively easier to align the leave year to the calendar year. The operator will at least know that he can assume 900 hours per pilot between New Years Day and New Years Eve, and only have to check that they do not exceed the 1000 hours in 12 consecutive months.

I still smell a rat, though. In the days before low-cost airlines arrived, with their cost-cutting working practices, big airlines made sure of flexibility by employing lots of pilots. At one time, BA were reported to be struggling to  make sure that their pilots were flying the minimum number of hours to keep their licences current - the exact opposite problem. The low-cost model aims to trim the fat from that by getting the maximum 900 hours per year from every member of flight crew. I was told by a former Ryanair pilot, who allowed me the unalloyed pleasure of the jump seat in the cockpit on a flight back from Spain (before 9/11) that Ryanair would aim to get the 900 hours out of a pilot in the minimum time possible - 9 months - then leave it up to them to find a way to stay current in the three months before they could fly again. You cannot even fly passengers as a private pilot in a light aircraft unless you have completed at least three take-offs and landings as "sole manipulator of the controls" in the preceding 90 days. At that time, there was a ready supply of suitably qualified pilots from other airlines and diminishing air forces, but not any more. Not looking after your aircrew, who have an extremely portable skill, means that they will walk away if they get a better offer. Norwegian are expanding rapidly as a low-cost long-haul operator, as are Wow, Icelandair, and others, taking advantage of the open skies policy, and flying pax via hubs - such as Dublin. They need pilots for both short-haul aircraft (such as A320, Boeing 737) and long haul (A330, B767 etc), and if they offer decent conditions will draw pilots easily. It is no great surprise then that, if crew feel as under-valued as reported in some places, that 140 pilots packed their headsets and walked. 140 pilots equates to a 7,000 hours per month (at two crew per flight) hole in Ryanair's schedule, or 1,400 return flights from Bristol to Spain, for example. With the secondary aim of low cost airlines being maximum occupancy, that hole is substantial, even if it is only 2% of services.

It also remains to be seen how the company will plug the gap. Overtime by pilots is not an option, leaving either recruiting new staff from a shrinking pool, or quietly leaving the cancelled services out of the schedules forever. Mr O'Leary also will have much more to do to restore what was growing customer confidence in his brand. Who remembers the bonfire of the hidden fees, and his statement that if he had known that being nice to passengers was so good for business, he would have started doing it sooner?
« Last Edit: September 19, 2017, 10:15:49 PM by Four Track, Now! » Logged

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ChrisB
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« Reply #23 on: September 20, 2017, 10:29:28 AM »

Presumably it'll be a combination of revised schedules in 2018 (booking periods not yet open) and additional recruitment.
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Four Track, Now!
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« Reply #24 on: September 20, 2017, 12:58:10 PM »

Presumably it'll be a combination of revised schedules in 2018 (booking periods not yet open) and additional recruitment.

Well, yes. There is no other way. Mr O'Leary's troubles will be greater should Norwegian decide that they need even more staff.

Recruitment of aircrew could prove a little tricky for Ryanair, given the historic tales, be they real or apocryphal, of poor treatment of staff compared to other airlines. Would you want to work for aviation's answer to Boris Johnson?

Pilots are only allowed to be current on one type of aircraft at a time, with one exception. Pilots with an Airbus A320 rating can fly A319s and A321s - despite a number of differences in characteristics, the "front office" looks the same for all three. Conversion to the long-haul A330 or A340 is more straightforward than for the equivalent switch of Boeings. So a lot of low-cost airlines, Easyjet among them, switched from Boeing to Airbus. The similarities extend to engineering, so the airline can have a mixed fleet of aircraft without having different pilots and ground crew for each variant. Ryanair operates exclusively with Boeing 737-800s (plus one B737-700 for charters and training). Norwegian operates those too, making it easier to poach staff, but unlike Ryanair, it also operates long haul flights in B787 Dreamliners. No doubt, the brightest of the short haul pilots will be able to apply for jobs flying those when they come up, with conversion costs (about a 6 week course, I believe) covered by the airline. There is no chance of similar career progression at Ryanair - you will be flying drunken holiday makers on multi-sector days while your former colleagues are sunning themselves (and entertaining the stewardesses) for a couple of days between flights in some faraway exotic location. And Nowregian's boss is unlikely to on record as saying that "Germans will crawl bollock naked over broken glass to get low fares", even if that did elicit a couple of muted "Ja"s, or whose idea of customer service is "You're not getting a refund, so f*** off."

I have read yesterday's Times, which reports Mr O'Leary as blaming the Irish government for introducing the change in rules. That is absurd - as a member of EASA, they have to, and the change was notified over 3 years ago.

Good luck with the recruitment campaign, MR O'Leary. Ryanair may well end up with those new pilots who decided against qualifying on Airbus, and who can't find a job anywhere else. So it will be revisions to schedules - removing flights rather than altering them. That brings another problem - Boeing 737-800s make a lot of money in the sky, but cost a fortune on the ground. If there aren't enough pilots to fly the 403 that Ryanair operates, a hole will quickly appear in the profits. Mr O'Leary has good reason to want to mend the damage. A fall in share price of 10% would cause a hole in his personal wealth, if not any sympathy from elsewhere.

By the way, Easyjet's schedule for next year opened today. I have booked Cyprus and Menorca, for a total cost of under £100 return each, for Mrs FT, N! and myself. Book today for the best bargains. Other low-cost airlines are available.
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broadgage
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« Reply #25 on: September 20, 2017, 01:29:17 PM »

I think that this is the beginning of the end for Ryanair.
Declining reputation, trouble retaining staff, and a new significant competitor.
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"When customers say that they want a seat, they dont mean they want to sit with their knees behind their ears so that 4 more can sit down. They mean that they want an extra coach so that 74 more can sit down"
"Capacity on intercity routes should be about number of vehicles, not compressing people"
Four Track, Now!
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« Reply #26 on: September 20, 2017, 07:25:02 PM »

I think that this is the beginning of the end for Ryanair.
Declining reputation, trouble retaining staff, and a new significant competitor.

To be fair, Ryanair is Europe's largest airline in terms of passengers flown by a country nautical mile. It isn't too big to fail, but it runs some routes where no-one else does, including two from Bristol (Castellon and Béziers) that I have travelled on this year. It needs mending, and people need to be convinced that it isn't going to go rogue again.

Norwegian mirrors Ryanair's low-cost model to some extent, flying, in the UK's case, holiday travellers to sunshine destinations in Europe. The added string to its bow is its connection with Norwegian long haul via hubs to destinations in America (including Argentina from next year) and Asia. Ryanair doesn't do that.

Wow, Icelandair's low cost subsidiary, does the long haul via a hub at Keflavik, but without the bucket-and-spade European operation. It also offers the option of a stopover of up to a week in Iceland without extra charge. I flew to Vancouver with Icelandair in similar fashion last year, coming home from Seattle and spending four days in Reykjavik, and I, and Mrs FT, N!, thoroughly enjoyed it.

The times, they are a-changing, and you have to move with them. Pan Am and TWA thought they were above the problems.
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ChrisB
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« Reply #27 on: September 20, 2017, 07:56:10 PM »

Ryanair were in discussions with Norwegian as a feeder into their long-haul operation. Now since plug pulled for obvious reasons
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Trowres
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« Reply #28 on: September 20, 2017, 08:00:35 PM »

Quote
I'll have a stab

Thank you, FTN, for continuing the tradition of this forum in providing enlightenment on a wide range of topics; some far removed from GWR.


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Timmer
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« Reply #29 on: September 20, 2017, 09:29:13 PM »

Ryanair were in discussions with Norwegian as a feeder into their long-haul operation. Now since plug pulled for obvious reasons
Norwegian now having joined forces with EasyJet:
https://www.easyjet.com/en/worldwide
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