Ryanair is offering 315,000 customers a £40 or €40 travel voucher for each trip cancelled earlier this month because of its pilot shortage crisis.
The boss of the no-frills carrier, Michael O’ Leary, says in an email being sent to passengers that it was its way of apologising “for the disruption we caused” when 2,100 services to the end of October were abruptly axed.
It means Ryanair faces the prospect of substantially raising its earlier €25m (£22.2m) estimate on the cost of the blunder because the vouchers are in addition to its statutory compensation obligations.
However, much will depend on how many customers choose to use them – with the terms and conditions reportedly limiting availability.
Video: Ryanair boss faces questions over cancellations
According to the Independent, the vouchers must be redeemed by the end of next month, with flights to be taken by 20 March.
:: Ryanair ‘working hard’ to end flights mess up
The major disappointment for passengers who qualify will be while they are unable to benefit during the Easter holidays, the same will be true for Christmas because vouchers do not cover festive services between 20 December and 7 January.
Another condition which the airline was yet to confirm to Sky News was that infants are not eligible.
Video: Ryanair to recruit 120 new pilots
The pilot shortage has been a PR disaster for Ryanair amid its Always Getting Better drive to improve customer satisfaction since 2014.
Ryanair explained that it had “messed up” the planning of pilot holidays but it was forced to dismiss claims that the defection of dozens of pilots to a Norwegian rival over the past year had played a role in the debacle.
It also cited a backlog of crew leave, air traffic control strikes and weather disruptions.for the cancellations.
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During a shareholders’ meeting last Thursday, Mr O’Leary said the firm planned to recruit 120 new pilots within “the next week or two” to avert the prospect of a fresh wave of cancellations.
In his email, he again pledged that would not happen, saying: “”Rest assured there will be no repeat of last week’s roster related flight cancellations.”