Tick tock: Ryanair says it will respond to regulator demands by today's deadline after flight cancellation criticism

 
Rebecca Smith
The airline has been dealing with the fallout of its mass flight cancellations
The airline has been dealing with the fallout of its mass flight cancellations (Source: Getty)

Ryanair said this afternoon that it will comply with the deadline set by the aviation regulator, after it was told to respond to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) by 5pm today.

The CAA has told the Irish carrier to correct its compensation policy for passengers after mass flight cancellations arising from the mismanagement of pilot holiday.

It has ordered Ryanair to tell passengers they are entitled to be rerouted by another airline, as well as how they will reimburse affected passengers' expenses.

Read more: Ryanair shares dip as regulator says it's furious over flight cancellations

The regulator said at present it was yet to hear from the airline, saying it had requested a meeting to discuss its ongoing concerns around passenger rights.

In a statement this afternoon, Ryanair said: "We’re preparing our response which they’ll receive before 5pm."

The CAA said that if the airline did not meet the deadline, it would proceed with the enforcement action kicked off on Wednesday, which could result in court action.

Having announced it would be cancelling around 50 flights a day over a six-period across September and October, Ryanair then said this week it would have to suspend 34 routes until March next year in an effort to bring an end to uncertainty over further cancellations.

The regulator said Ryanair had "again failed to provide customers with the necessary and accurate information relating to their passenger rights, particularly around rerouting and care and assistance entitlements, which includes expenses".

The CAA's chief executive Andrew Haines said yesterday he was "furious" with the airline.

"We are furious that they are not complying with the law and they are not giving customers what they are entitled to," he said. "Continuously they are causing confusion with their customers and that's what I think is unacceptable."

Shares in the airline, which dipped yesterday, dropped again today, down by more than two per cent at the time of writing.

Analysts have said that while the cancellation troubles have worsened, the airline wasn't renowned for having a stellar reputation among customers before.

"Despite the bad publicity the share price falls have been fairly modest in comparison to the gains seen since 2014, and it’s not hard to see why," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

"Despite its name and brand being synonymous with poor customer service the company last year posted profits in excess of €1bn, and despite the shambles of recent days still looks on course to past similar profits this year."

However, Hewson said there still could be turbulence afoot if this does significantly impact customers' willingness to book with the airline again.

He said:

It’s one thing to appear indifferent to the needs of your customers, when your offering is the cheapest in town, it’s quite another to inconvenience them to the point that they don’t book with you in the first place due to uncertainty as to whether their flight will actually leave, let alone come make the return journey.

With that in mind and reports of a dissatisfied work force as a result of the host of cancellations it is hard to see why investors should have confidence in a brand that not only treats its customers poorly but also appears to take its staff for granted.

Ryanair's suspended 34 routes: Here's the full list

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