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Ryanair announces winter flight cutbacks

Sept. 27 (UPI) — Ryanair Ltd., the Irish no-frills airline, announced Wednesday the cancellation of 18,000 flights between November and March, affecting 400,000 passengers.

It will fly 25 fewer aircraft of its fleet of 400, the company, Europe’s largest airline by passenger volume, said in a statement. Over 30 of its regular routes will be suspended during the winter.

Earlier in September it announced the cancellation of up to 50 flights per day through October.

The airline was hit with flight cancellations during the summer affecting 315,000 passengers. It blamed the problem on inadequately scheduling mandatory vacation time for pilots. The statement Wednesday said the winter slowdown “will provide stability to pilot rosters.”

The company denied rumors that it faced a pilot shortage, saying only 100 of its 2,000 pilots have left the company in the past year and that it has a waiting list of 2,500 pilots.

The statement added that Ryanair will withdraw plans to bid on Alitalia, Italy’s national airline, which has faced bankruptcy issues.

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