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Ryanair Loses Case at Court of Appeal Over Pilot Strike Compensation Payouts

Ryanair Loses Case at Court of Appeal Over Pilot Strike Compensation Payouts

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Ryanair has lost its latest appeal against an order from Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) that the airline was liable for paying compensation to customers who were affected by a strike by pilots in 2018. The budget carrier could still appeal the decision to the UK’s highest court, the Supreme Court and the CAA has told disgruntled Ryanair passengers to wait for further updates before trying to progress their compensation claims.

More than 400 flights were cancelled in August 2018 after a coordinated strike by Ryanair’s pilots who were demanding that the airline fully recognise unions and improve pay and conditions for aircrew.

The airline eventually conceded many of the demands of its pilots but dismissed compensation claims from passengers whose flights were cancelled under Europe’s so-called EC261 denied boarding regulations.

Ryanair argued that the strike was an “extraordinary circumstance” that releases airlines from their responsibility to pay compensation for delayed or cancelled flights.

The CAA, however, came to the conclusion that the strike wasn’t an extraordinary circumstance and ordered Ryanair to fulfil its obligations under EC261. The CAA ruling meant Ryanair would need to pay compensation of between 250€ and 600€ per passenger.

Ryanair appealed the decision to the High Court and lost. The airline then appealed to the Court of Appeal and on Wednesday, the court again sided with the CAA.

“Ryanair has refused to pay compensation to passengers affected by industrial action taken by its pilots in 2018. We believed that these passengers were in fact protected by law and that Ryanair could not claim its delayed and cancelled flights were ‘extraordinary circumstances’,” commented CAA director Paul Smith, following the court’s decision.

“We would like to advise consumers that Ryanair may seek to appeal this judgement to the Supreme Court. Affected customers should therefore await further information before pursuing their claims,” Smith continued.

“Given consumers have been waiting for clarity on this subject since 2018, this process reinforces the need to modernise our powers. In this respect, we welcome the Government’s recent consultation on strengthening airline passenger rights.”

Separately, Ryanair was voted worst short-haul airline for handling refunds during the pandemic according to readers of consumer rights magazine Which? Just 47 per cent of those polled were satisfied with the service offered by Ryanair for flights that were cancelled as a result of the pandemic.

British Airways was the second-worst airline with an approval rating of just 63 per cent.

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