In wake of Ryanair cancelling 40 to 50 flights daily for the next six weeks they’ve announced a more long-term outlook for the airline and announce that they’re going to be canceling an additional 18,000 flights over the next six months.

The airline firmly denies that it has a pilot shortage but all actions and moves that is has made indicates so. Their earlier mass cancellation was attributed to pilot holiday (vacations for us American folks) schedule mishaps but I don’t buy it. Ryanair is a low-cost airline and they sell itself on that fact every moment it gets. It might be the race to the bottom that really is killing the airline.

These schedule changes will affect less than 1% of Ryanair customers this winter. All affected customers have received an email today offering alternative flights or full refunds and a travel voucher for a free flight. For 99% of our customers their is no change to their flights.

In the ultra low-cost airline world your day-to-day goals are twofold, sell as many tickets as you can and move as many passengers as you can. With how expensive planes and pilots are an airline is only as profitable as how many tickets you sell. With Ryanair and other low-cost airlines there isn’t really any movement around in the company and the wages are fairly low.

Like most low-cost and regional airlines new pilots usually use them to gain more hours to qualify to transfer to the bigger airlines where they have room to be promoted and transfer within the company. This pilot shortage with Ryanair, and yes I consider it a pilot shortage, is a result of the company’s strategy to offer low wages to employees and no movement within the airline. All of this contributes to what we have today.

Most of that of course is speculation without any evidence or an official statement from Ryanair themselves but we will have to see where it takes us. For now with the winter season unsure for Ryanair it’s probably best to stay away from the airline until they stabilize once again.