Ryanair passengers face up to six-month wait for refunds

Most flights grounded until July as airline to cut up to 3,000 jobs.

Ryanair's Edinburgh base could be affected.

Ryanair has announced up to 3,000 job losses, mainly among pilots and cabin crew.

Most flights will remain grounded until at least July, although its Edinburgh-Dublin route is among the few still operating.

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The budget airline is normally among Scotland’s biggest, with a crew base at Edinburgh and other flights from Glasgow, Prestwick and Aberdeen.

It said other staff could be told to take unpaid leave and pay cuts of up to 20 per cent.

The carrier said it “will shortly notify trade unions about its restructuring and job loss programme, which will commence from July.”

Several airport bases may also be closed until demand for air travel recovers.

Chief executive Michael O'Leary, whose pay was cut by 50 per cent in April and May, has agreed to extend the reduction until next March.

But he said customers may have to wait up to six months for cash refunds for cancelled flights.

Refunds ‘guaranteed’

Mr O’Leary told the BBC the airline had a backlog of some 25 million refunds, with March refunds to be completed “within a month or two” and April refunds “within two or three months”.

He said May refunds “may take three to six months”.

"But, we will, I can guarantee you in Ryanair, every customer will receive a cash refund if they want it."

Ryanair said passenger numbers will not return to 2019 levels "until summer 2022 at the earliest".

It expects to operate fewer than 1 per cent of its scheduled flights between April and June, and carry no more than half of its original target of 44.6 million passengers between July and September.

For the 12 months to the end of March 2021, its forecast is that it will carry fewer than 100 million passengers – one third less than expected.

The airline group said it is in "active negotiations" with Boeing to cut the number of planned aircraft deliveries over the next two years.

It expects to report a net loss of some £87 million between April and May, with "further losses" in the following three months.

‘Miserable news’

Brian Strutton, general secretary of pilots' union Balpa, said: "There has been no warning or consultation by Ryanair about the 3,000 potential job losses and this is miserable news for pilots and staff who have taken pay cuts under the Government job retention scheme.

"Ryanair seems to have done a U-turn on its ability to weather the Covid storm.

"Aviation workers are now facing a tsunami of job losses.

“The UK Government has to stop daydreaming and keep to the promise made by the Chancellor on 17 March to help airlines, or this industry - vital to the UK economy - will be devastated."

Ryanair said: "We entered this unprecedented Covid-19 crisis with almost £3.5 billion in cash, and we continue to actively manage these cash resources to ensure that we can survive this Covid-19 pandemic, and more importantly the return to lower fare flight schedules as soon as possible.

"Our customers can look forward to more low air fares as we are forced to compete with flag carrier airlines who have received £26.2 billion in state aid 'doping' to allow them to sustain below-cost selling for months after this Covid-19 crisis has passed, as it certainly will over the coming months."

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