The Irish and UK civil aviation authorities have confirmed Ryanair (FR, Dublin Int’l) has taken steps to address several of their concerns raised last week involving what the UK regulator had bluntly termed the airline’s persistent “misleading of passengers with inaccurate information regarding their rights in respect of its recent cancellations.”
Earlier this month, Ryanair announced it would cancel over 2,000 flights between September 16 and the end of October citing rostering miscalculations of pilots’ leave. A further 18,000 flights, scheduled between November and March 2018, will also be affected the carrier said earlier this week.
On Wednesday, September 27, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said that despite it writing formally to Ryanair to insist that it ensure customers were not misled and had accurate comprehensive information about their rights and entitlements, the LCC failed to comply. As such, it was left with no other option but to expedite enforcement proceedings.
To that end, and with a Friday, September 29, deadline looming to address all deficiencies, Ryanair issued a statement indicating that it had now met with the Irish Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) and agreed to implement a series of steps to address the CAR’s, and the UK CAA’s, requirements.
“Ryanair has an obligation to re-route passengers to their final destination at the earliest opportunity,” a CAR statement said. “We fully expect Ryanair to offer re-routing on alternative airlines or to alternative airports as appropriate (as they have outlined they will do). If re-routing means you have to stay an extra night, Ryanair must provide care and assistance at its expense; for example, hotel accommodation, meals and refreshments, and transport to the hotel.”
For its part, Ryanair said it will now ensure that all customers affected by its recent rostering-related flight cancellations are fully aware of their EU261 rights and entitlements, including full refunds, or re-accommodation onto other Ryanair flights or other comparable transport options with reimbursement of reasonable out of pocket expenses.
The CAA’s chief executive Andrew Haines confirmed the airline’s action in a follow-up statement issued on Friday, September 29.
“We can confirm we have received correspondence from Ryanair late this afternoon,” he said. “Where we find that an airline is systematically flouting these rules, we will not hesitate to take action, to minimise the harm and detriment caused to passengers, as we have done with Ryanair in recent days. It appears that Ryanair has now capitulated. We will review their position in detail and monitor this situation to ensure that passengers get what they are entitled to in practice.”
The CAA and CAR were not the only regulators to press Ryanair to better clarify its reimbursement obligations to customers. Spain’s AESA (Agencia Estatal de Seguridad Aérea) announced on Friday, September 29, that it had opened a second investigation into the Irish budget carrier following its latest announcement involving the cancellation and modification of 18,000 flights scheduled between November and March 2018. AESA said that if Ryanair is found to have breached European regulations governing passenger rights, it could face pecuniary action to the tune of EUR4.5 million