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UK regulator says Ryanair 'capitulates' to pressure on passengers' rights
September 29, 2017 / 4:50 PM / 20 days ago

UK regulator says Ryanair 'capitulates' to pressure on passengers' rights

FILE PHOTO: A Ryanair plane prepares to land at Manchester Airport in Manchester, Britain, March 31, 2016. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Britain’s aviation regulator said on Friday that Ryanair (RYA.I) had “capitulated” to pressure to inform passengers hit by flight cancellations of their rights, and would keep pushing the airline to fully compensate them.

More than 700,000 passengers due to fly between September and March have been hit by a recent wave of flight cancellations caused by a shortage of Ryanair pilots.

Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had said the airline failed to properly inform customers and had given it until 1600 GMT on Friday to explain their rights to be re-routed on rival airlines and compensated for some out-of-pocket expenses.

Ryanair met the deadline, by putting a notice on the main page of its website explaining how passengers could be compensated under European Union law.

“It appears that Ryanair has now capitulated,” CAA Chief Executive Andrew Haines said in a statement on Friday, after the regulator had warned the airline on Thursday to deliver “action, not words”.

Haines said the CAA would now keep up pressure on the Irish airline.

“We will review their position in detail and monitor this situation to ensure that passengers get what they are entitled to in practice,” he said in the statement.

A Ryanair spokesman said the airline’s notice on its website had met aviation authorities’ demands in full.

“We apologise again sincerely for the disruption and inconvenience our rostering failure has caused some of our customers,” Ryanair’s Chief Marketing Officer said in the notice.

He said all passengers had been given a 40 euro ($47) travel voucher per affected flight and that he hoped all compensation under EU rules would be processed by the end of October.

Ryanair said in a press release that the move was made to comply with the Irish Commission for Aviation Regulation rather than the CAA, but said the demands of the two organisations were the same.

The CAA did not say what action it would take if Ryanair did not comply, but it has the power to take court action against carriers that fail to comply with consumer rights laws.

Senior politicians weighed in behind regulators on Friday with Britain’s Aviation Minister Martin Callanan and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar both calling on Ryanair to fulfil its obligations.

Ryanair said it had enough pilots for the flights in question but that the cancellations were required as it did not have enough to provide back-up service in the event of disruption. It said the cancellations accounted for a small percentage of its total flight schedule.

Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Adrian Croft and Susan Fenton

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