Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair is expecting to be sued in a test case by the UK government for non-payment of passenger compensation. The carrier is appealing against the legality of any such action.

The controversial pan-European law granting compensation and assistance to offloaded, delayed or stranded passengers is to come into force in February, despite the victory by several airline associations in July in challenging its legality.

The UK High Court referred the case to the European Court of Justice and urged an expedited hearing before the ruling entered force (Flight International, 20-26 July). It is understood that the earliest the court will now hear the case is August.

Ryanair expects to receive its first application for compensation from a disgruntled passenger before that date, which it would refuse to pay if the delay or flight cancellation was due to factors outside the airline's control, such as weather or air traffic control. Under UK law, such refusal to pay would be a criminal act and the UK government could take the airline to court. A senior Ryanair source says: "We would welcome this opportunity to prove the unfeasibility of the law."



Source: Flight International