Ryanair has denied that it is breaching consumer law by not paying customers compensation they are due for flight delays.
Its response came after the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said that it is taking legal action to ensure that the budget airline complies with its legal responsibilities regarding claims resulting from flight delays.
The CAA announced it had launched enforcement action by way of a mandate against Ryanair on Friday, following a review by the regulator that suggested Ryanair “is not complying fully with European consumer law designed to support passengers following flight disruption”.
The body carried out a six-month review of the UK’s 15 largest airlines this year that it said was “designed to ensure that airlines comply with the European regulations, as confirmed recently by the UK courts, safeguarding passengers’ rights and providing for compensation as a result of flight disruption”.
It has since said that it is not satisfied that Ryanair is dealing with compensation claims for disruption caused by routine technical faults in line with applicable consumer law, despite the recent ruling on such matters regarding Jet2.com.
EU 261 specifies that passengers who depart from an EU airport on any airline, or arrive at an EU airport on an EU carrier (this includes Iceland, Norway and Switzerland), are entitled to care and compensation for a delayed arrival time of more than three hours.
The CAA accused Ryanair of attempting to impose a two-year time limit on compensation claims, shorter than the permitted six years, although the airline has denied this.
“Ryanair fully complies with EU 261 regulations which is a fundamental part of our customer charter and our 'Always Getting Better' programme,” a spokesman said in a statement. “Ryanair has requested an early meeting with the CAA to clarify any misunderstandings that may have arisen in dealing with some historic cases”.
In August, Ryanair lost a case against a group of passengers after the European Court of Justice ruled that they should be able to claim compensation for travel delays more than two years after their flight.
The CAA said its review of airline policies has “already led to Jet2, Aer Lingus and Wizz Air changing their position”.
The CAA's statement said: “We will do everything in our power to ensure that passengers are receiving the support they need, and are legally entitled to, during and after disruption.”
The body is due to publish a second report into airline compliance with flight delay compensation laws at the end of this year.