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Saturday 10 December 2016

O'Leary erupts over ash-cloud expenses claims

Published 22/04/2010 | 05:00

RYANAIR'S Michael O'Leary was quite simply in 'flying' form at Punchestown Racecourse.

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Those pesky flyers attempting to seek monies for being stranded due to the volcanic ash plumes were cast aside as he watched his star performer War of Attrition enjoy his swansong.

"Delighted" and "fantastic" were the first words out of his mouth after the 11-year-old Mouse Morris stable star took on the competition in the €225,000 Guinness Gold Cup before a well-deserved retirement.

The aptly-named 2006 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner soared past the 11-8 favourite Denman to finish a gallant second as he failed to catch the English raider Planet of Sound.

Earlier, the Ryanair chief revealed he was willing to see the regulators in court as he fumed over the EC Regulation No 261/2004 that requires airlines to pay the full accommodation and food expenses of travellers when their flights are grounded.

"These regulations were designed for passengers being stranded for one night for fog and stuff like that, not for shutdowns of European airspace," he said, adding they would challenge the legislation.

"We would hope to have everybody back by close of play on Friday or Saturday," he said. The volcano crisis is estimated to have already cost the airline up to €40m.

"I think it is fair if you paid a €10 airfare you should not be entitled to claim back €1,000 worth of hotel bills simply because a volcano erupted in Iceland," said Mr O'Leary.

Ryanair flights in northern Europe are due to operate as scheduled from today, while flights between Ireland and the UK will resume tomorrow.

Irish Independent

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