Ryanair could be forced to compensate passengers whose flights were disrupted due to a pilots’ strike in 2018 following a ruling by the High Court today.
The court agreed with the Civil Aviation Authority that Ryanair was wrong to claim the delays and cancellations were caused by ‘extraordinary circumstances’.
The CAA, which started enforcement action against Ryanair in December 2018, said the High Court had agreed with its interpretation of the EU261 Denied Boarding regulations.
The regulations state that EU airlines, or airlines operating flights from EU countries, must compensate passengers for late cancellations and lengthy delays, unless these were caused by ‘extraordinary circumstances’ beyond an airline’s control, such as bad weather.
Commenting on today’s High Court judgement, CAA Director Paul Smith said: “We are committed to protecting the rights of air passengers and are determined to ensure all airlines comply with their legal obligations.”
After Ryanair rejected claims for compensation, passengers whose flights were disrupted by the strikes complained to its CAA-approved alternative dispute resolution service (ADR). But the airline quit the ADR and passengers’ claims have been on hold for more than two years.
As Ryanair has the right to seek to appeal today’s judgment, the CAA said affected customers should wait for further information before pursuing their claims.
If Ryanair chooses not to appeal, or if the appeal court upholds the High Court ruling, it will have to pay affected passengers up to £350 compensation.