Sun, Oct 01, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Ryanair bows to regulator demand on compensation


Ryanair Ltd on Friday caved in to pressure from regulators and issued a statement telling passengers about their right to compensation for the thousands of flights that it has canceled.

The move came as the budget airline faced the threat of legal action over the allegedly misleading statements it has made.

The British Civil Aviation Authority gave Ryanair until 5pm to issue the press release and provide a link to it on the firm’s Web site.

The regulator on Wednesday said it had begun an enforcement action against the Dublin-based airline for “persistently misleading passengers” about their right to compensation following cancelations that the airline said resulted from pilot scheduling errors.

“We apologize again sincerely for the disruption and inconvenience our rostering failure has caused some of our customers,” Ryanair chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said on Friday.

The regulator threatened to take legal action after the airline on Wednesday scrapped 18,000 flights in a second round of cancelations following the airline’s admission that it “messed up” the scheduling of pilot vacations.

The watchdog said it would not hesitate to take action on consumer laws when an airline “is systematically flouting these rules.”

“It appears that Ryanair has now capitulated,” said Andrew Haines, the regulator’s chief executive. “We will review their position in detail and monitor this situation to ensure that passengers get what they are entitled to.”

The agency said that the airline failed to tell customers it would reroute their travel on other carriers if no suitable flights were available on Ryanair and pay out-of-pocket expenses resulting from the cancelations.

Earlier, Britain’s ITV News unearthed an internal Ryanair memo that allegedly instructed call center staff to offer flights with other carriers — provided the price “does not exceed three times the value of the original Ryanair fare.”

The consumer group Which? criticized the airline’s policy.

“Ryanair appears to be plucking figures out of thin air as there is no legal basis for the arbitrary figure they’ve set,” group managing director Alex Neill said. “The law says passengers must be rerouted and there’s no specified limit on cost.”

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