Could Ryanair's "pilotgate" spell the end of cheap flights?

Ryanair to cancel more flights

Ryanair to cancel more flights

Update 4.22pm: Ryanair has announced that the company has fully responded to requirements imposed by the Irish Commission for Aviation Regulation and the UK Civil Aviation Authority to clarify customer entitlements in the wake of "deeply regretted" cancellations.

Andrew Haines, chief executive of the CAA, said: "Our job is to protect passengers' rights and ensure that all airlines operating in the United Kingdom are fully compliant with important consumer laws".

The airline said it will reimburse "reasonable" out of pocket expenses incurred by customers as a result of these flight cancellations, subject to receiving an expense claim form from customers supported by original receipts.

The Civil Aviation Authority ordered the airline to issue clarification of their entitlements under EU261 as it believed the airline had broken European Union law by not being clear about customers entitlements.

Managing director Alex Neill said: "Ryanair appears to be plucking figures out of thin air as there is no legal basis for the arbitrary figure they've set".

Ryanair has apologised to 800,000 passengers for cancelling their flights because of a pilot shortage, and then misleading them about their rights.

The airline has until 5pm to sort out compensation for thousands of passengers whos flights have been cancelled.

Kenny Jacobs, Ryanair's chief marketing officer, said: "We apologise again sincerely for the disruption and inconvenience our rostering failure has caused some of our customers".

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The airline, who has until 5pm today to refund the cancellations from its United Kingdom flights, has announced yet another massive seat sale.

Travellers who want a refund have been told they will be first moved to the next available Ryanair flight on the same route, and if that is not possible then a Ryanair flight from/to a suitable alternative airport.

The authority has pledged to bring "enforcement action" against the airline for failing to give customers accurate information about their rights.

The budget airline said it had taken on more extra staff to process the expected increase in customer claims.

It enforces consumer rights for passengers on United Kingdom flights under the Enterprise Act, meaning it could take Ryanair to court, where it would face being fined.

This sudden decision by the airline has affected around 400,000 bookings.

"We will review their position in detail and monitor this situation to ensure that passengers get what they are entitled to in practice". The latest announcement will affect 34 routes, including London-Belfast and Hamburg-Oslo.

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