The Civil Aviation Authority has said that passengers are entitled to compensation under EU law, after walkouts by pilots and cabin crew in Germany, Sweden, Ireland, Belgium and The Netherlands forced the airline to cancel flights over the summer. Ryanair has, to date, been unwilling to compensate customers for the disruption, claiming that the fact that strikes caused the problem means that it is exempt.
“Courts in Germany, Spain and Italy have already ruled that strikes are an ‘exceptional circumstance’ and EU261 compensation does not apply,” it said. “We expect the UK CAA and courts will follow this precedent.” However, the CAA is now enforcing the European Court of Justice’s ruling from April 2018 that strikes do not fall within the scope of ‘extraordinary circumstances,’ and says that it now requires Ryanair to pay compensation to the affected passengers.
“This latest development marks a watershed moment for both legislation and importantly consumer aviation rights, making it crystal clear that the ECJ ruling is binding and that all airlines are accountable to it,” says Henrik Zillmer, CEO of air passenger rights company, AirHelp. “As the ECJ ruling states that airlines are now liable for flight disruption caused by staff strikes, they must compensate those passengers affected or face the consequences.”
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