Tuesday 24 October 2017

Ash crisis has cost the airline €50m, and climbing

Aideen Sheehan Consumer Correspondent

RYANAIR has had to refund a million customers whose flights were cancelled during the volcanic ash crisis and up to 150,000 passengers are seeking reimbursement of additional expenses such as meals and accommodation.

The crisis cost the airline €50m to the end of May, with further payouts expected as more claims are processed.

Ryanair said they had not yet assessed the costs of reimbursing people as they had initially prioritised non-contentious flight refunds for around a million passengers whose flights were cancelled during the crisis and used alternative transport to get home.

However, they estimated that between 100,000 and 150,000 claims had been lodged for additional hotel, communications and meal costs for stranded passengers for which they are liable, but larger claims would be scrutinised closely to make sure they were legitimate.

"We are not paying out for bottles of Chateau Margaux," Mr Cawley said.

He hit out at the EU261 regulations requiring airlines to meet these costs which he said were "unfair, disproportionate and discriminatory" as well as the excessive closures of air space.

Some stranded passengers had claimed up to €2,500 for expenses even though they only paid €25 or €50 for the flight. It was manifestly unfair to expect airlines to shoulder this burden, whereas other transport operators and insurers could walk away, Mr Cawley said.

Irish Independent

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