Ryanair facing legal action by CAA over flight cancellations

(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Thu, 28 Sept 2017) London, Uk – –

Ryanair is facing legal action from the UK’s aviation regulatory body for “persistently misleading passengers”.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced it had launched enforcement action against the Irish airline on Wednesday night, accusing the carrier of “failing to provide customers with the necessary and accurate information relating to their passenger rights, particularly around rerouting and care and assistance entitlements, which includes expenses”.

It believes that Ryanair has failed to tell affected passengers that they are legally obliged to be put on an alternate flight of any airline – not just those operated by Ryanair.

Ryanair yesterday said it would be cancelling a further 400,000 bookings on 18,000 flights between November this year and March 2018 as the carrier sought to alleviate some of the pressure on its packed schedule. It follows a swathe of some 315,000 cancellations announced last week, which CEO Michael O’Leary blamed on a mishandling of pilots’ holidays.

The airline said at the beginning of the week that refunds or alternative flights had been processed for 97 per cent of those affected by the initial cancellations, but the CAA has rounded on the carrier for how it handled passengers.

“There are clear laws in place, which are intended to assist passengers in the event of a cancellation, helping minimise both the frustration and inconvenience caused by circumstances completely out of their control,” said the CAA’s chief executive Andrew Haines.

“We have made this crystal clear to Ryanair, who are well aware of their legal obligations, which includes how and when they should reroute passengers, along with the level of information it provides its passengers. The information Ryanair published [yesterday] again fails to make this clear.

“In expediting our enforcement action we are seeking to ensure that Ryanair’s customers will receive the correct and necessary information, to make an informed choice about an alternative flight.”

The CAA has published a letter, which it sent to Ryanair in the wake of the cancellations, informing the airline that O’Leary had misled passengers when he said Ryanair was not obliged to re-route passengers on airlines other than Ryanair. The CAA also said the airline had “failed to make [a] correction”.

“It light of the information published by Ryanair, the CAA is concerned that Ryanair is not complying with the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008,” the letter said.

“In light of these urgent and continuing concerns, we are now commencing consultation under Section 214 EA02 to achieve cessation by Ryanair of the breaches of consumer protection legislation identified in this letter.”

The CAA has asked to meet with Ryanair to discuss the matter.

A spokesperson for Ryanair said: “We will be meeting with the CAA and will comply fully with whatever requirements they ask us to.”

The CAA has brought legal enforcement 22 times in its history, twice previously to Ryanair, the most recent of which was in October 2015.

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