Ryanair to impose “compensation levy”

The carrier says it will add a €2 fee to all bookings made from April 4, to compensate for costs suffered by “force majeure” incidents such as the volcanic ashcloud, strikes and snow closures.

The carrier says that it suffered costs of over €100 million over the last year, arising from from “flight cancellations, delays and providing right to care, compensation and legal expenses arising from more than 15,000 flight cancellations and over 2.4 million disrupted passengers”.

Ryanair says that the majority of these claims arose from three periods during which it was “prevented from flying by the failure/inaction of third parties”, these being:

  • the Icelandic volcano airspace closures of April/May 2010
  • the snow closures of many EU airports during November/December 2010
  • over 15 days of national ATC strikes, primarily in Belgium, France, Germany and Spain in summer 2010, which caused repeated flight delays and cancellations.

Ryanair has named the new fee the “EU261 Compensation Levy”, referring to the EU regulation which requires carriers to provide customers with compensation and assistance in the event of delays and cancellations caused by incidents such as those listed above.

The carrier says that it is “unfair and discriminatory that airlines are made liable for providing refunds, meals, hotels and phone calls during ATC strikes, bad weather airport closures, or (volcanic) airspace closures when even travel insurance companies avoid liability during these “force majeure” events, and when competing transport providers (rail, ferries and coach operators) have no such “force majeure” liability under their equivalent EU261 regulations”.

It added that the new €2 levy will “help to defray these costs”, and said that it will reduce or eliminate the fee “if the EU261 regulations are reformed, to include an effective right of recovery clause and a non discriminatory “force majeure” clause”.

For more information visit ryanair.com.

Report by Mark Caswell


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  • Yet again Michael O’Leary has been very successful in getting free publicity for Ryanair; when is the media going to get wise to the fact Ryanair introduce or suggest these additional charges purely for this reason?

  • Aaaargh! At Thromby Air we try to be creative with our sneaky charges. They wouldn’t be called “hidden fees” is they weren’t sneaky. (e.g. see http://bit.ly/fBiTMd for an example)

    But now I see that you can just add an arbitrary fee FOR NO REAL REASON! I love it. They really are the market leaders!

    Visit us at http://www.thrombyair.com to learn about our feeble attempts to be a sneaky LCC.

  • Personally i’m more interested in this release…

    RYANAIR TO INTRODUCE ‘CHILD FREE’ FLIGHTS

    Ryanair, the world’s favourite airlines, today announced that it will introduce ‘Child Free’ flights from October (winter schedule) after a Europe-wide survey of 1,000 passengers showed that half would pay higher fares to avoid other people’s children. The survey showed that a third of passengers (36%) have had flights ‘ruined’ by other people’s noisy kids with one in five passengers (18%) urging Ryanair to restrict the number of children on flights.

    While the survey found that passengers would prefer to avoid other people’s children, it placed ‘blame’ firmly with parents with top gripes being:

    1. 50% Parents who expect ‘special treatment’ because they have children.
    2. 25% Parents who allow children to annoy those in seats behind.
    3. 15% Parents who board late and expect others to accommodate them.
    4. 10% Parents who allow children to run in the aisles or kick seats.

    Ryanair’s Stephen McNamara said:

    “When it comes to children we all love our own but would clearly prefer to avoid other people’s little monsters when travelling. While half our passengers would like us to divide our cabins up into ‘adult’ and ‘family’ areas it is not operationally possible due to our free seating policy, with optional priority boarding. However, with clear demand for ‘child free’ flights Ryanair will introduce child free flights on high frequency routes from the start of our winter schedule in October.”

    Ends 1st April 2011

  • Simply yet another reason for not flying Ryanair.

    I hope that the powers that be in Brussels and Strasbourg examine this surcharge carefully to ensure it is legal, hopefully he will have stuffed up again. year from now it will 5 Euro per person each way. Just watch.

  • I had mixed views hearing that Ryanair will add a €2 euro levy to all fares from Monday to cover its costs of compensating passengers under EU regulation 261. It appears the whole industry is uniformly against this regulation, however it comes as no surprise that Ryanair is first to pass this cost on to its customers. You can’t blame any business feeling perplexed about having to compensate where it was clearly not at fault, but I’m curious about the science behind how Ryanair came up with this seemingly arbitrary €2 figure!

    Another concern is whether customers will be deterred from buying travel insurance because they think the airline has to pay for delays and cancellations whatever happens. The trouble is that insurance companies can escape paying out on ‘force majeure’ incidents as an ‘act of god’ when the poor airlines are still saddled with these costs. Whatever the reasoning behind the EU regulations, someone has to pay and it looks like that will ultimately be passengers regardless!

    Martino Matijevic
    CEO, WhichBudget.com

  • If ATC is on strike, why should Ryanair (or any airline) pay food, drink etc for passengers that cannot fly, the same for vulcano outbursts and snow. If the snow cannot be cleared it is the responsibility of the airport in the first place.

    So in case of disruptions, do NOT always penalize the airlines, airports, ATC, ground handling unions etc. have money and can be sued !!

    Bravo, Ryanair !

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