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Ryanair forced to cancel 870 flights due to Israel-Hamas conflict

Ryanair forced to cancel 870 flights due to Israel-Hamas conflict

Ryanair cancelled 870 flights during October due to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, as new statistics from the low-cost airline show a dip in passenger numbers.

The 17.1 million passengers it carried throughout the month was a 9 per cent increase on the same month in 2022 but a drop from September 2023’s 17.3 million, reports City AM.

Many airlines paused flights to Tel Aviv following Hamas militants’ attack on Israel on 7 October and the subsequent escalation in the ongoing conflict, with Ryanair suspending its routes until at least 6 November.

Wizz Air has halted flights until 15 November, while British Airways will fly again from 14 November and easyJet is waiting until 30 November.

Budget operator rival Wizz Air saw greater year-on-year growth for October, jumping 19 per cent compared to 2022, but also saw a slip from September this year, flying 5.4 million customers in October, down from 5.5 million in the previous month. However, the European airline did not share the cancellation or disruption figures in its market update.

The Independent has contacted Ryanair for comment. The drop follows record passenger numbers over the summer, thanks to pent-up demand for travel following years disrupted by Covid-19 restrictions.

The news comes soon after Ryanair was ordered to pay more than £2m to package holiday companies over Covid-related flight cancellations.

The airline was defeated by On The Beach in a long-running High Court battle, which concluded that Ryanair must pay for refunds made by package holiday providers during the pandemic.

In Tuesday’s judgment, it was found Ryanair had benefited from “unjust enrichment”.

The judge ruled that recompense due represented the cost of flights refunded to travellers for package holidays in “circumstances where Ryanair have cancelled or made what are described as major changes to flights which were part of the packages”.

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