Sunday 26 May 2019

Regulator says Ryanair must compensate passengers

Refund: Strikes forced Michael O’Leary’s Ryanair to cancel flights. Photo: PA
Refund: Strikes forced Michael O’Leary’s Ryanair to cancel flights. Photo: PA

Anne-Marie Walsh

Ryanair passengers are entitled to compensation after their flights were cancelled or delayed due to strikes, the Irish regulator has decided.

The Commission for Aviation Regulation has written to the airline about five separate complaints.

They relate to flight cancellations and long delays during last March, July and August.

“Based on information received to date, in each case, the commission has taken the view that Ryanair should pay compensation,” said a spokesperson for the regulator. “We await Ryanair’s response.”

Ryanair has been adamant that it is not liable to pay compensation, which can be sought even if the affected passenger gets a refund or was accommodated on an alternative flight.

The low fares airline had to cancel hundreds of flights during the busy summer season in Ireland and across Europe due to strikes by pilots and cabin crew.

Some 170,000 customers were hit by the industrial action across Europe.

An estimated 17,500 of these were booked on flights between Ireland and Britain.

It suffered the effects of industrial action after recognising unions for the first time last year.

The UK aviation authority is taking action to force the airline to pay compensation to customers.

The Civil Aviation Authority found that the strikes were not exempt from EU rules. It said it has begun enforcement action against the airline.

Ryanair previously said courts in Germany, Spain and Italy have already ruled that strikes are an “extraordinary circumstance” and EU261 compensation does not apply.

“We expect the UK CAA and courts will follow this precedent,” it said.

A request for a comment was sent to Ryanair yesterday evening but it had not responded at the time of going to press last night.

Online Editors

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