Ryanair is facing enforcement action from the UK’s civil aviation regulator, after the carrier rejected compensation claims from passengers over strike disruption.
While airlines would be exempt from paying compensation under circumstances ruled ‘extraordinary’, the Civil Aviation Authority has previously expressed a view that strike action does not count as such.
It states that passengers with rejected claims had been able to escalate complaints to an approved dispute-resolution organisation called AviationADR. But Ryanair has told the CAA that it has “terminated” its agreement with AviationADR, says the regulator.
The CAA says it started enforcement action against Ryanair on 5 December.
“Passengers who have made strike-related compensation claims via AviationADR are advised that these claims are currently on hold,” it says, adding that they will need to await the outcome of the enforcement measures.
Ryanair stated in its half-year financial results to 30 September that its marketing, distribution and other costs had risen by 15% primarily as a result of higher compensation arising from disruptions and cancellations.
It has yet to respond publicly to the CAA enforcement decision.
Ryanair has suffered disruption over the summer both from air traffic control strikes and, it says, "limited" industrial action by its own staff.
European Court of Justice judges had ruled earlier this year that a ‘wildcat’ strike by German carrier TUIfly’s crews, which disrupted its operations, could not be counted as an extraordinary circumstances – thereby obliging the airline to pay compensation.
This ruling had gone against an original advocate general opinion that such strikes could be considered extraordinary if the airline had taken reasonable measures to avoid them.