Passengers all at sea over Irish Ferries’ plans for 2019

Cantillon: Apparently conflicting messages sent out on fate of Rosslare to France route

 The  Irish Ferries ship WB Yeats: The  carrier needs to get its communications with customers back on course. Photo: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland.

The Irish Ferries ship WB Yeats: The carrier needs to get its communications with customers back on course. Photo: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland.

 

Irish Ferries is fighting tooth and nail against compensating passengers whose summer travel plans were disrupted last year by the extended delay in the company’s ship WB Yeats coming into service.

About 30,000 passengers were affected as the Irish Continental Group operation was forced to cancel bookings.

And they would have reason to be further confused by some apparently conflicting messages from the company on its plans for the 2019 season.

In a statement at the weekend, Irish Ferries said its discussions with the National Transport Authority on the interpretation of EU regulations “has been a critical factor in regretfully concluding that we are unlikely to operate the Oscar Wilde to France out of Rosslare in 2019 – a service which has been in operation continuously for 45 years”.

Really?

No one would expect a private commercial business to operate a route that is simply not profitable

Back in December, when the company announced that it was unlikely to operate a service between Rosslare and France in 2019 (though it would keep the situation under review), it said it was because “a majority of our customers have a clear preference for the more central location and easy access of Dublin”.

That’s tough, but fair enough. No one would expect a private commercial business to operate a route that is simply not profitable.

But, given the context of the latest statement – the company’s concern that it is being held to account even for events it considered beyond its control and for which extensive advance notice has been given – the inference of this new statement is that the decision on the Rosslare route is driven by a concern that it could be forced to pay similar compensation to passengers on this route.

Further clarity might be needed to get communications with customers on the fate of the Rosslare-France route back on course.

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