Watchdog calls on Ryanair to compensate customers over cancelled flights due to strikes
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has called on Ryanair to compensate passengers affected by staff strikes this week. The CAA argued Ryanair was bound by EU law, but the airline said it would reject any claims.
Ryanair has cancelled 150, or about 6% of its 2,400 scheduled flights this Friday. The airline said this was due to strikes in Spain, Belgium, Holland, Portugal, Italy and Germany.
About 24,000 customers have been affected, a Ryanair spokeswoman said. Under EU Regulation 261, travellers are entitled to a refund or new flight if their trip is cancelled.
Compensation of between €125 (£110) and €600 (£540) can also be claimed if a flight is cancelled within 14 days of departure and if this is deemed to be the airline’s fault. This includes staff strikes.
But airlines can refuse to pay out for “extraordinary circumstances” including bad weather or strikes by air traffic controllers.
The CAA said Ryanair should pay compensation because the strikes were being held by Ryanair staff, making the airline legally liable.
However, Ryanair said this week’s strikes had been spurred by “competitor airline crew, unions and lobby groups” and thereby count as “extraordinary circumstances”.
“No compensation is payable to customers when the delay/cancellation is beyond the airline’s control,” Ryanair said in a statement.
“In recent years during which there were over 15 days of pilot and cabin crew strikes in Germany, Lufthansa was not required to pay EU261 compensation. Similarly, the UK CAA should also explain why it took no action against BA during last year’s cabin crew strikes.”
Many passengers have voiced their concerns on social media after Ryanair announced the cancellations earlier this week.