Court rules Ryanair passengers not entitled to compensation for strike-led delays
Published on Wednesday, February 12, 2020
Ryanair has won a legal battle to avoid compensating passengers whose flights were delayed by union-led strikes in 2018.
The Court of Appeal ruled that passengers are not entitled to payments under the EU261 compensation rules for the disruption two years ago as these were extraordinary circumstances beyond the airline’s control.
His Honour Judge Iain Hughes said: “As a matter of principle no airline can control the demands made on it by a trade union. All airlines, whether they are state-owned or owned by their shareholders, are subject to competing interests and cannot simply concede all such demands as are made on them by trade unions.
“Airlines have to take into account a much broader range of interests, including the interest of the business itself, the interests of passengers, the interests of non-striking employees, the interests of its owners and must have regard to the competition that it faces in the market place.”
As a result of the ruling, Ryanair said it would not pay any compensation to passengers hit by the disruption.
An airline spokesman said: “Ryanair pays the vast majority of EU261 compensation claims it receives without dispute, but on occasion Ryanair must reject claims where we believe an unavoidable disruption is due to extraordinary circumstances.
“While we do not wish to disappoint customers, who may have been expecting EU261 compensation, we must defend such claims as we have a duty to all our customers, our staff and the regions we serve to manage our costs responsibly.
“Failure by Ryanair in this regard would raise fares and reduce choice for all our customers, in particular on regional routes which are disproportionately affected by EU261 costs.”
The ruling follows similar court decisions in Ireland, Spain, Germany, France and Italy.