London Southend offers free flights to passenger hit by Ryanair cancellations

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary during a press conference in Dublin

"This could arise when a pilot who has completed 800 hours, for example, by December leaves Ryanair and commences flying in another European airline in January and accumulates another 300 hours by the end of March".

A staffing blunder is thought to be responsible for the cancellations, which led to a tumble in Ryanair's share price.

He has said all of those affected will be "entitled to their EU261 compensation entitlements" if they are not satisfied with alternative flights offered.

Flights between Paris Beauvais and Dublin, as well as Paris Beauvais and Porto are among the routes badly affected, as are journeys between Toulouse and Brussels, and Toulouse and London.

Meanwhile, Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary has issued an apology to the 400,000 passengers affected and said that they're doing what they can to rectify the situation and that it's only around 2% of their entire passenger number that will be affected by the scheduling error. For 2017 it means annual pilot leave has to be crammed into the nine months between April and December.

The Irish airline said it was preparing for up to 20 million euros in compensation claims and 5 million euros in lost fares as a result of the cancellations, although analysts estimated the total cost could be higher.

Writing on Ryanair's Facebook page, Lucy Dwyer said she is due to travel on Thursday and needs to know if the flight will go ahead.

For passengers who also booked places to stay, the case could end up going before a tribunal, said the magazine.

Flights on Thursdays between Copenhagen and Bergamo, northeast of Milan, have also been cancelled in the same period.

The budget airline said it is cancelling the flights as it moves to reduce a backlog of holidays for staff and improve punctuality.

I will have to be careful how I word this, but, let's just say the news reports are now beginning to include input from pilots that the airline treats staff so badly that many have walked.

Manchester United fans react angrily after RyanAir cancel flights to Lisbon ahead of their Champions League clash with Benfica. "I say we want to put our hands up, which is what we do when we make a mess", O'Leary told a news conference.

He said: "What we have messed up is the allocation of holidays and trying to over-allocate holiday during September and October while we're still running most of the summer schedule, and taking flight delays because of principally air traffic control and weather disruptions". Cancellation amounts vary from 250 euros to 600 euros depending on your flight.

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