Ryanair agrees to pay volcano disruption expenses

22 Apr 2010 by BusinessTraveller

Ryanair says that it will comply with “unfair” EU261 regulations which require airlines to reimburse expenses of disrupted passengers. However it adds that customers will not be entitled to compensation.

The low-cost carrier had originally said that passengers would only be entitled to reimbursement up to the value of their ticket, but it has now agreed to “comply with EU261 regulations under which EU airlines are required to reimburse the reasonable receipted expenses (as set out in EU261) of disrupted passengers”.

Ryanair says that the regulations do not entitle passengers to compensation, “as the closure of European airspace over the past seven days was beyond the control of European airlines”.

Commenting on the decision CEO Michael O’Leary said: 

“The events of the last seven days, under which Europe’s airlines were prevented from flying by the closure of European airspace highlight how absurd and discriminatory the EU261 regulations are towards Europe’s airlines.  

“While competitor ferry, coach and train operators are obliged to reimburse passengers reasonable expenses, this reimbursement is limited to the ticket price paid to those operators. Yet the airlines are required by regulation to meet potentially unlimited expenses, in circumstances where there has been a catastrophic closure of European airspace over the past seven days, as EU Governments and Regulators wrongly applied a blanket ban on flights over European airspace. 

“Ryanair has long campaigned for these reimbursements under passenger rights legislation to be limited to the ticket price paid in the same way they are for train, coach and ferry operators.  We will continue to work through the European Low Fares Airlines Association (ELFAA) and other industry bodies to persuade the European Commission and the European Parliament to alter this regulation to put this reasonable limit on these reimbursement claims”.

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Report by Mark Caswell

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