Re­funds re­lief after Ryanair fi­nally gives in

Daily Express - - NEWS - By John Ing­ham Trans­port Ed­i­tor

CRI­SIS-HIT air­line Ryanair “ca­pit­u­lated” yes­ter­day and agreed to meet the costs of re-rout­ing and com­pen­sat­ing 700,000 pas­sen­gers hit by mass flight can­cel­la­tions.

It agreed the move after reg­u­la­tor, the Civil Avi­a­tion Author­ity, trig­gered en­force­ment action against the Dublin-based air­line for “per­sis­tently mis­lead­ing” pas­sen­gers about their rights.

And yes­ter­day, with less than one hour re­main­ing to a 5pm dead­line, Ryanair is­sued a statement say­ing it had agreed to meet the CAA’s de­mands.

CAA chief ex­ec­u­tive An­drew Haines said: “It ap­pears that Ryanair has now ca­pit­u­lated. We will re­view their po­si­tion in de­tail and mon­i­tor this sit­u­a­tion to en­sure that pas­sen­gers get what they are en­ti­tled to in prac­tice.”

The row cen­tres on Ryanair’s de­ci­sion to axe more than 20,000 flights over the au­tumn and win­ter after mak­ing a “mess” of pi­lots’ hol­i­day ros­ters.

Fi­asco

Be­fore yes­ter­day’s an­nounce­ment, out­spo­ken Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary had es­ti­mated the cost of the can­cel­la­tions to the air­line to be about £22mil­lion.

But that bill is likely to rise sig­nif­i­cantly as a re­sult of the CAA action.

Pas­sen­gers hit by can­cel­la­tions are en­ti­tled to re­funds, rea­son­able ex­penses or to be booked on an equiv­a­lent flight by a ri­val air­line.

Ear­lier this week the CAA ac­cused the Dublin-based car­rier of “not com­ply­ing with the law” over its han­dling of the fi­asco.

It said Mr O’Leary had pub­licly stated that Ryanair was not obliged to re-route pas­sen­gers on other air­lines.

It also said the Ryanair web­site had failed to in­form pas­sen­gers about their rights.

This week CAA chief ex­ec­u­tive An­drew Haines said he was “fu­ri­ous” at Ryanair’s lack of cus­tomer care after it can­celled an ex­tra 18,000 flights for the win­ter season on Wed­nes­day – a move that will hit 400,000 cus­tomers.

The lat­est round of can­cel­la­tions in­cludes sev­eral pop­u­lar routes in the UK, such as Stansted to Ed­in­burgh and Glas­gow, Gatwick to Belfast, New­cas­tle to Faro, and Glas­gow to Las Pal­mas. Ear­lier this month Ryanair can­celled up to 50 flights a day, af­fect­ing more than 300,000 pas­sen­gers. The CAA’s en­force­ment action car­ries the threat of a sub­stan­tial fine. After meet­ing the Ir­ish Com­mis­sion for Avi­a­tion Reg­u­la­tion, Ryanair yes­ter­day agreed to meet its and the CAA’s re­quire­ments. A Ryanair statement said: “Ryanair has to­day is­sued a clar­i­fi­ca­tion email to all af­fected cus­tomers out­lin­ing their rights to re­funds, re-rout­ing on Ryanair or on other com­pa­ra­ble trans­port op­tions, and ex­penses.” Ryanair’s Kenny Ja­cobs said: “We apol­o­gise again sin­cerely for the dis­rup­tion and in­con­ve­nience. “We have taken on ex­tra cus­tomer ser­vice staff and are mov­ing now to process and ex­pe­dite all claims from af­fected cus­tomers.” Alex Neill, of con­sumer group Which?, said the CAA now needs to “watch Ryanair like a hawk” to en­sure it hon­ours its com­mit­ments.

Ryanair pas­sen­gers at Stansted yes­ter­day

Un­der fire… Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary

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