Passenger takes Ryanair to EU court over volcano costs
Published 10/02/2012 | 05:00
RYANAIR has been taken to a European court over claims for compensation by a Dublin woman whose flight was grounded due to a volcanic ash cloud two years ago.
The landmark case, which kicked off in the EU's court of justice in Luxembourg yesterday, could set a precedent if it is won by the airline, which says EU rules on reimbursing air passengers are unfair.
The woman, Denise McDonagh from Terenure, Dublin, is suing Ryanair for the €1,129 that she spent on meals, accommodation and transport when her Ryanair flight from Faro in Portugal was delayed for nine days after the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland in April 2010.
Ryanair said that the weeks-long closure of parts of European airspace caused by ash from the volcano were "totally beyond the control of EU airlines" and said that it should not be liable for Ms McDonagh's costs.
In a statement yesterday, Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara said: "Airlines should not have to shoulder unlimited liability for passenger costs for 'act of God' events, which are entirely beyond their control when competing rail, coach and ferry operations enjoy limits on their obligations."
Ms McDonagh took the case to the EU's highest court last year after the Dublin Metropolitan District Court had failed to reach a verdict.