UK court says Ryanair not liable for strike compensation claims

Ruling is that industrial disruption constitutes “extraordinary circumstances”

Ryanair welcomed the ruling on Wednesday

Ryanair welcomed the ruling on Wednesday

 

Ryanair has welcomed a UK court ruling that the airline is not liable to pay compensation for disruptions caused by strike action.

Judge Iain Hughes ruled on Wednesday that disruptions due to industrial action constitute “extraordinary circumstances” and are therefore beyond the airline’s control.

“As a matter of principle no airline can control the demands made on it by a trade union. All airlines, whether they are state-owned or owned by their shareholders, are subject to competing interests and cannot simply concede all such demands as are made on them by trade unions,” Judge Hughes said.

The ruling follows similar court decisions in a number of jurisdictions after the airline was ordered to compensate people affected by strike action.

Regulators, including the Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR), had previously said Ryanair was liable for payments under EU regulation 261, which provides compensation as a result of delayed or cancelled flights.

Ryanair welcomed the ruling on Wednesday, saying that in the “vast majority of EU261 compensations claims it receives without dispute”.

“While we do not wish to disappoint customers, who may have been expecting EU261 compensation, we must defend such claims as we have a duty to all our customers, our staff and the regions we serve to manage our costs responsibly,” said Kenny Jacobs, the airline’s chief marketing officer.

“Failure by Ryanair in this regard would raise fares and reduce choice for all our customers, in particular on regional routes which are disproportionately affected by EU261 costs,” he added.