Ryanair, Europe’s No.1 airline, today (12 Feb) welcomed the Judgement on Appeal ruling confirming that Ryanair is not liable to EU261 compensation in relation to disruptions caused by union-led strikes as such disruptions constitute extraordinary circumstances and are beyond the airline’s control.

His Honour Judge Iain Hughes QC found that “[a]ny court will readily accept that employment terms and conditions are part of running an airline, but that does not mean that a particular problem with terms and conditions must be inherent. The authorities make it clear that the court has to look at the cause or origin of the problem.” In relation to “control” his Honour found that “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”.

Ryanair is committed to providing the highest level of service and protection to its customers and takes all available measures to minimise inconvenience to its customers where unavoidable flight disruptions occur. Where a flight is cancelled, Ryanair offers affected passengers a choice between a refund or rerouting. In addition, Ryanair provides its customers with care and accommodation as applicable during disruptions. Ryanair assesses each disruption on a case by case basis, and it is company policy to pay all valid EU261 compensation claims within 10 days of receipt from its customers.

Ryanair’s Kenny Jacobs said:

“We welcome this confirmation by the UK Court that these 2018 union-led strikes constitute extraordinary circumstances.  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 (Ryanair will fly more than 150 million customers this year), 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.

This ruling follows similar court decisions in Ireland, Spain, Germany, France and Italy. Ryanair fully complies with all EU261 legislation and pays all valid EU261 claims within an industry leading 10 days.”