A UK court has ruled that Ryanair is not liable to pay compensation in relation to disruption caused by union-led strike action.
The Judgement on Appeal ruling confirmed that the airline is not liable to EU261 compensation in relation to disruptions caused by union-led strikes as such disruptions constitute extraordinary circumstances and are beyond the airline's control.
"As a matter of principle no airline can control the demands made on it by a trade union," said Judge Iain Hughes.
"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.
"Airlines have to take into account a much broader range of interests, including the interest of the business itself, the interests of passengers, the interests of non-striking employees, the interests of its owners and must have regard to the competition that it faces in the market place."
Welcoming the ruling this morning, Ryanair's Kenny Jacobs said that the 2018 union-led strikes "constitute extraordinary circumstances".
Mr Jacobs said that the airline pays the "vast majority" of EU261 compensation claims it receives but must reject claims where it is believed that an unavoidable disruption is due to extraordinary circumstances.
"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.
"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."
Ryanair said that they assess each disruption on a case by case basis and it is company policy to pay all valid EU261 compensation claims within 10 days of receipt from its customers.
The UK court decision follows similar court decisions in Ireland, Spain, Germany, France and Italy.