Ryanair pledges weekly updates to watchdog

Ryanair has agreed to give the Commission for Aviation Regulation weekly updates on the number of passengers out of Ireland who are entitled to compensation and expenses as well as the numbers of claims submitted and claims closed out.

The airline was under pressure from aviation authorities both here and in Britain in the wake of Wednesday’s cancellation of an extra 18,000 flights, affecting potentially 400,000 passengers.

CAR said Ryanair confirmed yesterday it is taking on additional staff to ensure all refunds are provided to affected passengers within seven working days and that claims for compensation and expenses will be dealt with within 28 working days.

“Ryanair has an obligation to re-route passengers to their final destination at the earliest opportunity,” said a CAR spokesman. “We fully expect Ryanair to offer re-routing on alternative airlines or to alternative airports as appropriate (as they have outlined they will do).

“If re-routing means you have to stay an extra night, Ryanair must provide care and assistance at its expense; for example, hotel... meals and refreshments, and transport to the hotel.”

The spokesman said CAR is satisfied that a commitment from the airline to firstly seek to move a passenger to the next available Ryanair flight and, if that is not suitable, to go to another airline or mode of transport, meets the requirements of the European legislation.

Ryanair said it emailed all customers affected by its flight cancellations outlining their rights and entitlements. It said it has also updated the ‘frequently asked questions section of its website to reflect all the changes and put a press release on its website explaining how and when customers will be reaccommodated on other Ryanair flights or other airline flights.

In Britain, the airline faced the prospect of enforcement action by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) over its information for passengers affected by cancellations. It had until 5pm yesterday to address the issue.

“Ryanair has also today replied to the UK CAA letter of September 28, agreeing to meet its requirement for customer clarification on Ryanair’s EU261 obligations, which are in line with those requested by the CAR,” the airline said. It also called on the British authority to require all UK airlines to comply with their European obligations, claiming CAA did not apply them to British Airways earlier this year when the airline suffered a “computer meltdown”.

Meanwhile, the Irish Aviation Authority has rejected claims by the European Cockpit Association that it allows companies a more lenient interpretation of European safety rules on flight-time limitations and the annual limit on flight hours per pilot per year.

IAA said it ensures “all airlines comply fully with all safety regulations to the highest international safety standards, including Flight Time Limitation rules”.

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