Thursday, 26 July 2018

Ryanair break EU law by refusing passengers compensation over strike hit flights

The low-fare high-fee budget airline Ryanair is ready to break EU law by refusing to pay compensation to over 100,000 passengers that have seen flights cancelled and disrupted by strike action by pilots and cabin crew.

Under EU regulations passengers who are affected by those cancellations are due compensation payments of  €250 / £222 for flights that are cancelled inside a 14 day notice period, in addition, they are also entitled to a full refund or new flights. 

Under the law, there are some exceptions for the payment of compensation in terms of 'extraordinary circumstances' beyond the carrier's control which includes things like tornados and strikes by air traffic controllers and ground companies or handlers.  Ryanair is attempting to use this clause to refuse claims of compensation,  a spokesperson for the airline stated, "Ryanair fully complies with all EU261 legislation, however as these flight cancellations were caused by extraordinary circumstances, no compensation is due. Under EU261 legislation, no compensation is payable when the union is acting unreasonably and totally beyond the airline's control."

We spoke to two legal representatives, one from the UK and one from France to enquire if Ryanair could use this excuse to not pay passengers that have had flights cancelled within 14 days of departure, both were in agreement that it could not, employee relations is within the airline control they told us.  This advice chimes with the Civil Aviation Authority, which is also adamant that Ryanair is legally required to pay the compensations to the affected passengers, stating that the strikes by Ryanair's cabin crew did not qualify as an 'extraordinary circumstance' because it was within the airline's control.