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photo: © Thorbjørn Brunander Sund, danishaviationphoto.com

Ryanair clashes with authority over compensation

The low-cost giant has clashed with an aviation authority that says the carrier must compensate passengers hit by strikes.

Ryanair will have to deal with “enforcement action” from the UK’s aviation authority as it has refused to pay compensation to passengers hit by strikes, The Independent newspaper reports.

Under EU law, thousands of passenger journeys that were disrupted this summer due to strikes by Ryanair pilots and cabin crew across Europe must be compensated the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said today.

EU regulations say that passengers can claim compensation if a flight is cancelled or delayed for more than three hours.

But Ryanair insists it should not compensate passengers, as the walkouts were “extraordinary circumstances” for the airline.

“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,” the airline says in a statement to The Independent.

However, the editor of Which? Travel, Rory Boland, comments: “Customers would have been outraged that Ryanair attempted to shirk its responsibilities by refusing to pay out compensation for cancelling services during the summer – which left hard-working families stranded with holiday plans stalled.”

He adds: “It is right that the CAA is now taking legal action against Ryanair on the basis that such strikes were not ‘extraordinary circumstances’ and should not be exempt, to ensure that the airline must finally do the right thing by its customers and pay the compensation owed.”

Peace in Germany
In related news, Ryanair signed a peace deal with its German pilots yesterday, ending a year-long dispute with a four-year agreement with the union VC involving pay rises and a five-days-on, four-days-off working roster.

It is the latest in a string of pay deals that will weigh heavily on profitability. The agreement will be fleshed out by the end of February, according to VC.

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