Sunday 18 February 2018

Ryanair flights fiasco: IAA defends its role as airline faces compensation deadline today

Michael O’Leary’s Ryanair
Michael O’Leary’s Ryanair
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

THE Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has defended its role amid the Ryanair flights fiasco.

In a statement, it said that the cancellation of flights by Ryanair, in order to ensure compliance with European regulations, “is a commercial decision entirely at its own discretion”.

It added: “Unfortunately, this has resulted in significant disruption to its operating schedule and the airline has accepted full responsibility for the current situation.”

Shares in Ryanair are down 2.4pc in Dublin today, with more than €2.2bn having been wiped off the airline’s value in the past two weeks.

The IAA was criticised this morning by the general secretary of the European Cockpit Association (ECA), Philip Von Schoeppenthau.

He claimed on RTE that there was “something seriously wrong” with the way in which the IAA oversees airlines.

The IAA has robustly refuted the allegation.

“The IAA is one of the most respected aviation regulatory authorities in the world and is independently ranked by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) as having amongst the highest standards worldwide,” the IAA said.

It added: “Each airline is entirely responsible for managing its operations to comply with European regulations, provided it is deemed acceptable by the safety regulator.”

“The IAA has and continues to honour its obligations to the full with regard to the oversight of Ryanair as it does with all Irish Air Operator Certificate holders,” the semi-State body said. “It is important to note that the Commission for Aviation Regulation is the national enforcement body in Ireland tasked with the monitoring and regulation of EU legislation covering air passenger rights. The IAA is only responsible for safety oversight.”

Ryanair is facing a 5pm deadline today to make a public statement detailing compensation options available to people affected by its cancellation of more than 20,000 flights.

The UK’s aviation watchdog, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), made the demand yesterday. The chief executive of the CAA, Andrew Haines, told the BBC this week that he was “furious” over the manner in which Ryanair this week announced the cancellation an additional 18,000 flights.

It has demanded that Ryanair properly inform affected passengers as to their rights and how it will assist them.

By 5pm today, Ryanair must issue a press release explaining how it will re-route passengers and the criteria that it will apply to re-route passengers on other airlines. It must also include a commitment to assist passengers who have chosen an option that was not suitable for them “as a result of being misled by Ryanair”. The airline must also inform passengers that they will be reimbursed for any out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of the cancellations.

It must also update its website with correct information by 5pm.

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