Ryanair’s flight cancellations highlight that businesses must take staff holiday planning seriously

Reports that Ryanair has cancelled 82 flights on Sunday and will cancel between 40 and 50 flights every day for the next six weeks because it “messed up” the planning of pilots’ holiday is a situation that could have been avoided with better holiday planning, says absence management expert, Adrian Lewis, Director of Activ Absence.

Discussing the holiday planning chaos Ryanair’s Marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said, “We have messed up in the planning of pilot holidays and we’re working hard to fix that,”

He added that most of the cancellations are due to a backlog of staff leave which has seen large numbers of the airline’s staff book holidays towards the end of the year.



The airline is changing its holiday year, which currently runs from April to March, to run from January to December instead. Rynanair said the shift meant it had to allocate annual leave to pilots in September and October.

Adrian Lewis, said

“Messing up annual leave will have a major impact on Ryanair’s business. The flight cancellations alone could affect up to 285,000 passengers, who will be offered alternative flights or refunds – this situation is damaging to existing and future customers, employees and of course, the company’s brand.”


“With modern cloud technology today available cost effectively, there is no reason at all that any company should have problems managing annual leave. 

Companies that use online holiday planning software can encourage staff to request and input their holidays all year round and these details can be accessed and seen by everyone.


Employers can also use this software to set triggers so if an employee has only taken 50% of their annual leave by a certain date, they can flag this up.


They can also set policies and rules to avoid employees taking time off at the same time. For any business to run smoothly, as this situation with Ryanair shows, holiday planning is absolutely critical.”


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