News: Ryanair faces Civil Aviation Authority action over unpaid refunds

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The UK Civil Aviation Authority has today started enforcement action against Ryanair.

The move follows the airline’s decision that financial compensation is not payable under European Commission Regulation 261/2004 for flight disruption resulting from industrial action by the airline’s staff this summer.

Ryanair passengers have made claims for compensation directly to the airline, but these have been rejected.

Passengers have then been able to escalate their complaints to AviationADR, a body approved by the Civil Aviation Authority, to provide alternative dispute resolution for passenger complaints.

Ryanair has now informed the Civil Aviation Authority that it has terminated its agreement with AviationADR.

As the Civil Aviation Authority said at the time of the industrial action, in its view, the strikes were not “extraordinary circumstances” and were not exempt, meaning consumers should be compensated in accordance with Regulation EC261/2004.

As a result of Ryanair’s action, passengers with an existing claim will now have to await the outcome of the Civil Aviation Authority’s enforcement action.

In a short statement, Ryanair noted: “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.”

Passengers who have made strike-related compensation claims via AviationADR are advised that these claims are currently on hold and will have to await the outcome of the Civil Aviation Authority’s enforcement action.

At the same time, passengers with new claims who are not satisfied with the outcome or who have not received a reply from the airline within eight weeks, should contact the Civil Aviation Authority’s Passenger Advice and Complaints Team.

Commenting on the news, Rory Boland, Which? travel editor, said: “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.

“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.”

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