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Ryanair loses bid to overturn passenger payouts

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Industrial action: Ryanair was forced to cancel flights. Photo: Bloomberg

Industrial action: Ryanair was forced to cancel flights. Photo: Bloomberg

Industrial action: Ryanair was forced to cancel flights. Photo: Bloomberg

Ryanair has lost its High Court bid to overturn decisions forcing it to pay compensation to 10 passengers over flight cancellations due to strike action by Irish-based pilots.

The airline had challenged determinations of the aviation regulator directing it to pay compensation to five passengers in respect of a flight cancellation due to strike action on July 12, 2018, and to a further five passengers over cancellations due to strike action on July 20.

The determinations were made by the Commission for Aviation Regulation in accordance with a European regulation.

In judicial review proceedings, Ryanair argued it was entitled, under the 2004 regulation, to a derogation of the obligation to pay compensation because the cancellations arose in the type of "extraordinary circumstances" allowed for under the regulation.

The regulation provides an airline shall not be obliged to pay compensation if it can prove the flight cancellation is caused by "extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures were taken".

Yesterday Ms Justice Miriam O'Regan rejected those arguments.

The case involved consideration of various judgments by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) concerning compensation claims against airlines.

The CJEU had made clear the primary purpose of the regulation is to increase passenger protection and it must be examined from a "passenger perspective", outlined the judge.

She said it was "unstateable" for Ryanair to suggest the strike at issue might, because of the involvement of the trade union Fórsa, be considered "extraordinary".

Gerard Downey BL, for Ryanair, indicated it may seek a stay on the court's decision.

Irish Independent