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Ryanair to impose “compensation levy”

31 Mar 2011 by BusinessTraveller

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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