SOME 400,000 Ryanair passengers were left stranded after the budget airline cancelled hundreds of flights.

Meanwhile, it has been revealed pilots were offered bonuses of €12,000 to not take leave and reduce the number of cancelled flights.

FLIGHT-MARE: Ryanair holidaymakers left stranded by cancellations

Between 40 and 50 flights a day will be cancelled over the next six weeks, with flights to Barcelona and Madrid among those affected.

Two flights between Palma de Mallorca and East Midlands Airport have been cancelled tomorrow.

A Ryanair letter to pilots read: “To avoid further cancellations, we are requesting between one and two blocks of five days from every pilot who has already been assigned their month off.

“All current pilots […] who remain operating Ryanair aircraft between September and October 31, 2018 will receive a once-off €12,000/£12,000 gross bonus for captains and €6,000/£6,000 for first officers in November 2018.”

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary apologised for the shock cancellations, which came about because of a mix-up over pilot holiday rostering.

The Irish airline could have faced a €25 million fine for late arrivals if it had not allowed pilots to take holidays they were owed, it was claimed.

Around 80% of passengers affected would be placed on another flight within 24 hours of their designated departure, but O’Leary refused to book passengers on rivals’ planes.

“We will not pay for flights on other airlines,” he said. “We cannot afford to pay the high costs of our competitors,” said O’Leary.

“Our booking engine is full of passengers who have sworn they will never fly with us again.”

Passengers would also receive compensation payouts worth up to €400.

Customers whose flights were affected were contacted by email on Monday night, but prior to this all 18 million Ryanair passengers had been left in the dark.

“We did not focus on the concern we were causing to the 18 million passengers flying with us over the next six weeks,” O’Leary said.

“I say sorry to them.”


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