Ryanair is to suspend five Scottish routes this winter including Edinburgh and Glasgow to Stansted as its pilot holiday crisis deepens.
These total some 50 flights a week – or around 1,000 over the winter. They are among 18,000 flight cancellations on 34 routes, which will affect 400,000 passengers.
Ryanair has already cancelled some 30 flights from Scottish airports last week among some 2,000 across its network until October. It flies up to six times a day between Edinburgh and Stansted, and three times a day from Glasgow. The Szczecin and Hamburg flights were due to operate twice a week, and the Las Palmas flights once a week.
The cancellations start from Sunday 29 October.
Last night the Civil Aviation Authority launched enforcement action against the airline for “persistently misleading passengers with inaccurate information regarding their rights in respect of its recent cancellations”.
READ MORE: In full: 34 suspended Ryanair routes
Aviation analyst John Strickland, of JLS Consulting, said there could be a big loss for the airline from suspending the Stansted routes, on which it competes with EasyJet.
He said: “Ryanair appears to be taking additional measures to make absolutely certain they avoid any repeat of the current problems.
“Certainly, the Edinburgh and Glasgow routes are ones in which they have invested capacity and which should be strong winter performers for business traffic. They may be deemed a reluctant but necessary sacrifice.”
Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary blamed the move on mismanagement of pilots’ annual leave, which had led to the over-allocation of blocks of holidays.
This has already cost the airline some £22 million.
It said the latest step would “eliminate all risk of further flight cancellations”.
But Alex Neill, of consumer group Which? said: “This situation is a complete and utter shambles.”