Ryanair given deadline of 5pm today to sort out compensation by 'furious' UK regulator
Ryanair has been ordered by the UK's aviation regulator to sort out compensation for hundreds of thousands of travellers hit by mass flight cancellations by 5pm today.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) instructed the budget airline to tell passengers they are entitled to be re-routed by another carrier and explain how that will work.
Ryanair must also publicly state it will reimburse expenses for affected customers, according to a letter from the CAA.
In addition, the Dublin-based carrier must commit to helping passengers who chose an unsuitable option as a result of being misled.
It comes after the regulator accused the airline of "not complying with the law" over its handling of the fiasco.
Ryanair shares fell sharply yesterday after the crisis-hit airline was told "action, not words" was needed.
Ryanair confirmed yesterday that it is to cancel 22 flights a week to and from Dublin, between November 1 and March 24.
On Wednesday, the budget airline announced it is grounding an extra 18,000 flights from its winter schedule, a move that will affect an estimated 400,000 travellers.
CAA chief executive Andrew Haines said he was "furious".
"They are not making it clear to people their entitlement," Mr Haines told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
"If they follow through on what they are saying, then they would be breaking the law."
A Ryanair spokesman said: "We will be meeting with the CAA and will comply fully with whatever requirements they ask us to."
It adds to mounting anger against Ryanair, which already came under heavy fire after cancelling up to 50 flights a day earlier this month.
Ryanair says the cancellations were due to an error with pilot holiday rosters.
The airline apologised for the cancellations, saying it "deeply regrets" if anyone now doubts its reliability.
Passengers have expressed frustration with the airline, with many left out of pocket due to a lack of alternative flights and accommodation bookings they can no longer use.
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The CAA accused Ryanair of failing to inform passengers about its obligation to cover expenses incurred because of a cancelled flight, such as hotels and meals.
A Ryanair spokesman said: "We sincerely apologise to those customers who have been affected by last week's flight cancellations, or the sensible schedule changes announced.
"While over 99pc of our 129 million customers will not have been affected by any cancellations or disruptions, we deeply regret any doubt we caused existing customers last week about Ryanair's reliability."
The airline said the latest reduction in its schedule will "eliminate all risk of further flight cancellations".
RYANAIR announced that return flights between Dublin and Birmingham (FR 664 and FR 665), Paris Beauvais (FR 22 and FR 23) and Barcelona (FR 3977 and FR 3976) on Mondays between November and March will be cancelled.
A Thursday return flight between Dublin and Bucharest (FR 7346 and FR 7347) will be dropped, as have some Friday journeys between our main airport and Birmingham (FR 664 and FR 665), Paris Beauvais (FR 22 and FR 23), Barcelona (FR 6875 and FR 6874), Madrid (FR 7156 and FR 7157) and Warsaw Modlin (FR 4543 and FR 4544).
Sunday return services between Dublin and Birmingham (FR 664 and FR 665) and Krakow (FR 1901 and FR 1902) have also been cut.