Ryanair officially indicated on Thursday that it would refuse to pay compensation to passengers whose flights were cancelled due to strike action, believing such action to be “unreasonable”. However, the Belgian consumer protection organisation, Test-Achats, believes, “ECJ case-law is clear. An airline’s internal strike does not amount to force majeure and therefore gives rise to compensation for passengers.” The consumers’ association is thus inviting passengers to demand compensation.
Ryanair cancelled 600 flights, on Wednesday and Thursday, owing to a cabin crew strike in Belgium, Portugal, Spain and Italy. Some 50,000 passengers were affected by the strike action. Ryanair believes that no compensation is payable “when a trade union acts both unreasonably and entirely outside of the airline’s control.”
Test-Achats flags up that however, “as well as the choice between an alternative flight or the reimbursement of the price of their ticket, passengers in cases such as this one have the right to lump-sum compensation, ranging from €250 to €600 depending upon the distance which the anticipated flight was due to travel.” The exceptions are cases of force majeure, such as difficult weather conditions or a terrorist attack.
The organisation is encouraging passengers to demand this compensation. To have the right to it, such aggrieved passengers must demand the compensation directly from the airline. Test-Achats has announced that it will take legal action on behalf of passengers whose rights have not been respected. The organisation says, “We are already in the process of analysing the most appropriate procedure to use in this regard.”