Ryanair is offering 315,000 customers a travel voucher worth up to €80 for each trip cancelled because of its pilot shortage crisis.
It made the announcement while confirming plans to suspend 34 of its routes over the November-March winter season to prevent any repeat of the recent mass cancellation of services.
More than 2,000 flights to the end of October were abruptly axed earlier this month because of the “mess-up” over pilots’ leave.
Michael O’ Leary, boss of the no-frills carrier, says in an email to passengers that the voucher is the airline’s way of apologising “for the disruption we caused”.
It is worth up to €80 for a return trip.
The gesture does, however, raise the prospect of substantially raising Ryanair’s original €25m (£22.2m) cost estimate for the blunder.
That is because the vouchers are in addition to its statutory compensation obligations but much will depend on how many customers choose to use them – with the terms and conditions reportedly limiting availability.
According to the Independent, the vouchers must be redeemed by the end of next month, with flights to be taken by 20 March.
:: Ryanair ‘working hard’ to end flights mess up
The major disappointment for passengers is likely to be that – as well as Easter – the Christmas holidays are not covered by the vouchers because festive services between 20 December and 7 January are excluded.
Another condition which the airline is yet to confirm to Sky News is that infants are not eligible.
The pilot shortage has been a PR disaster for Ryanair amid its Always Getting Better drive to improve customer satisfaction since 2014.
During a shareholders’ meeting last Thursday, Mr O’Leary said the firm planned to recruit 120 new pilots within “the next week or two” to help avert the prospect of a fresh wave of cancellations.
The airline confirmed on Wednesday that the suspension of 34 of its 1,800 routes would affect three UK domestic services in Gatwick to Beflast, Stansted to Edinburgh and Stansted to Glasgow.