Ryanair announces winter schedule and 'customer care improvements'

Ryanair has announced details of its 2019/2020 winter schedule, including two new routes and the extension of ten existing services.

The airline will now offer a total of 119 routes as part of its winter schedule.

Ryanair's chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs confirmed that new routes from Dublin to Milan Malpensa and Knock to Tenerife will be part of its expanded service this year, which will see the airline carry 17 million customers.

The announcement also included the extension of ten existing routes to include winter services: Cork to Alicante, Budapest, Malta and Poznan; Dublin to Kiev, Pisa, Gothenburg, Bordeaux, Bournemouth and London Southend.

The extension of services in Cork will see Ryanair's passenger numbers at Cork Airport increase by 17% this year to 1.2 million.

Ryanair also unveiled a series of 'customer care improvements'. These include the introduction of 24/7 support and a 48-hour grace period for changes to bookings.

The airline has also promised to refund the difference in flight costs if a cheaper alternative can be found within three hours of making a booking with Ryanair and unveiled a 'Ryanair Choice' scheme which, for a fee of €199 per annum, allows customers to access seat selection and fast-track or priority boarding.

Speaking on Newstalk ahead of the announcement, Mr Jacobs said controversial new baggage limits introduced last year have 'settled down' and punctuality has improved as a result. He warned that the biggest cause of delays during the summer is air traffic control disputes.

"We don’t want flights to be delayed or cancelled like last summer," he said.

The announcement follows confirmation by the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) that January saw record volumes of air traffic. The IAA said 82,556 flights were handled by air traffic control in Ireland last month.

Cork Airport saw the biggest increase in commercial traffic up 6.5%. Dublin also increased by 3.9%. Shannon Airport's traffic declined by 4.2% compared to January 2018.

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