Ryanair have announced a decision to cancel up to 50 flights a day over the course of six weeks to catch up with staff holiday entitlement.
Due to an overworked workforce across the peak summer period, the airline have built up an excess of holiday debt with pilots and cabin crew.
Many passengers have spoken out about the decision, calling the cancellations as an "absolute disgrace" and "shocking".
The airline's head of communications, Robin Kiely, said: "We apologise sincerely to the small number of customers affected by these cancellations, and will be doing our utmost to arrange alternative flights and/or full refunds for them."
Ryanair have cancelled nearly two percent of their scheduled flights due to the error in holiday management.
Kiely added: "We have operated a record schedule and traffic numbers during the peak summer months of July and August but must now allocate annual leave to pilots and cabin crew in September and October while still running the bulk of our summer schedule."
The decision has been made after announcing that their statistical performance wasn’t running as effectively as they would like. "This increased leave has severely reduced our on-time performance over the past two weeks to under 80 percent.
"By cancelling less than two percent of our flying programme over the next six weeks, until our winter schedule starts in early November, we can improve the operational resilience of our schedules and restore punctuality to our annualised target of 90 percent."
Shopworks customers have the tools to avoid such an outcome, as the system tracks the outstanding leave balance and monitors how much of it has been taken. This is displayed on the dashboard as the user logs in and is done according to permissions. For instance the Finance Director can get a real time view of how much leave has been accrued and what percentage has been taken across the whole company and can drill down to see who the worst culprits are. The manager of a department with 10 staff can see each individual member’s unused holiday and can encourage it be taken before it creates a problem for the department.
This highly granular reporting and monitoring helps prevent the sort of problems that Ryanair suffered or would have at least given them a tool to monitor the build up of holiday debt and look at different strategies a long time in advance.
Head of Operations, Mike Hennessy, said: “We have a number of clients who find that our holiday management tool allows them to foresee when staff are overdue annual leave, and ensures that there is never a build-up of “holiday debt”.