Aer Lingus avoids legal action from UK regulator
Aer Lingus has avoided legal action in the UK after it amended its regulations for dealing with passengers who have had their flights disrupted.
The carrier, which is in the process of being taken over by British Airways parent IAG, had been facing action from Britain's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) over how it provided information to passengers on delayed or cancelled flights.
According to the CAA, Aer Lingus didn't provide adequate information during disruptions. Under European regulations, airlines must provide proactive information to passengers about their rights during long delays and cancellations.
The CAA had also planned to take action against Hungary's Wizz Air and British carrier Jet2, claiming they did not consistently pay compensation for disruption caused by technical faults, despite a UK Court of Appeal ruling that airlines must do so in these circumstances.
The CAA had threatened legal action over the matter earlier this year. However in a statement yesterday, the regulator said Aer Lingus had now "agreed to improve the quality of information they provide to passengers during disruptions and have signed legal undertakings confirming this". CAA chief executive Andrew Haines said the decision by Aer Lingus and the other airlines to amend regulations as a result of his agency's action was "a further boost for UK passengers".
The deal removes a potential headache of litigation for IAG chief executive Willie Walsh as he prepares to bring Aer Lingus formally under the IAG banner.
The deal cleared its final hurdle on Tuesday when Ryanair formally agreed to sell its Aer Lingus stake to IAG.
Speaking yesterday, Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe said it was "a very important day in the acquisition of Aer Lingus by IAG".
He added: "The IAG group has now acquired enough consent from enough shareholders to allow them to go ahead with the full acquisition.
"This I believe is going to give Aer Lingus a platform for more services in the future and to carry more passengers.
"In relation to the funding that the state will receive from the disposal of our share under the rules that we are now all part of under the Eurozone, we have to use that funding in a particular way and the government will be using it to lend out to infrastructural projects all over the country to improve the access in the country," the minister added.