Budget airline Ryanair is facing legal action over its refusal to pay compensation for cancellations caused by striking employees over the summer.
The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said that Ryanair has rejected claims and has ended its agreement with the body that resolves disputes between passengers and airlines, AviationADR, after it ruled in favour of thousands of customers.
Ryanair has claimed it doesn’t have to pay out, but the watchdog believes it is obliged to under EU legislation and the strikes were not “extraordinary circumstances”.
While airlines can refuse to pay out for “extraordinary circumstances”, such as bad weather or air traffic controller strikes, they must pay compensation for disruption caused by strikes held by its own employees.
At the time of the industrial action, the CAA said: “It is the view of the UK Civil Aviation Authority that when a flight cancellation is caused by strike action by the airline’s employees, the airline is required to pay compensation if it has not warned passengers of the cancellation at least two weeks prior to the scheduled time of departure.”
Ryanair’s flights were hit by strikes over the summer by the carrier’s pilot and cabin crews, while was also hit by the industry-wide air traffic control industrial action that saw thousands of flights cancelled across Europe.
On one day in August 400 flights were grounded, affecting tens of thousands of passengers.
What to do if you have a claim
The CAA is advising passengers who have already made strike-related compensation claims via AviationADR that these claims are currently on hold and will have to await the outcome of the legal action.
If you haven’t made a claim yet, you’re not satisfied with the outcome or you have not received a reply from Ryanair within eight weeks, you should contact the Civil Aviation Authority’s Passenger Advice and Complaints Team (PACT).
The CAA said passengers with an existing claim will now have to wait until the outcome of its enforcement action against the airline.
It has made repeated calls for Ryanair to compensate passengers affected by staff strikes.
A version of this article originally appeared on our sister title iNews