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Business

Ryanair cancels hundreds of flights, sparking outrage from customers

One of Europe's largest low-cost airlines wants to improve its punctuality. But its plan will impact hundreds of thousands of passengers over the next six weeks.

Ryanair said Friday it planned to cut between 40 and 50 flights per day over the next six weeks to "improve punctuality." The airline's head of communications, Robin Kiely, said in statement that the cuts, which will impact between 1,680 and 2,100 flights, amount to less than two percent of the airline's flight program.

Read more: Ryanair profit slumps on weak pound

"We apologise sincerely to the small number of customers affected by these cancellations, and will be doing our utmost to arrange alternative flgihts and/or full refunds for them," Kiely said.

Ryanair check in counter

Ryanair passengers are preparing for cancellations

Kiely cited air traffic control (ATC) delays and strikes, weather disruption during the summer, and a backlog of crew leave before the end of the year as reasons for the decision. These problems "severely reduced our on-time performance over the past two weeks to under 80 percent," he said.

Ryanair offered those affected the option for a refund or to book an alternative flight in emails sent on Friday.

But the announcement by Europe's biggest airline by passenger numbers left many passengers furious. Some vented their anger at Ryanair's official Twitter account, with one user calling the decision "outrageous" and another user calling it an "absolute disgrace."

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ap/rg (AFP, Reuters)

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