Varadkar: Ryanair must respect passengers rights

ITALY-AIRLINE-RYANAIR-PRESSER

"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".

Low cost airline Ryanair Holdings PLC said on Friday it met with the Irish Commission for Aviation Regulation and has agreed to implement a series of steps to address the Commission's requirements.

It has ordered Ryanair to tell passengers they are entitled to be rerouted by another airline, as well as how they will reimburse affected passengers' expenses.

If this isn't available, the airline said it would offer the customer re-accommodation on any comparable alternative transport.

The company said: "If any Ryanair customer on one of these disrupted flights believes that they may have chosen an option that was not suitable for them as a result of any misunderstanding of their EU261 rights, then they should write directly to Ryanair's Director of Customer Services".

According to Haines, the CAA has asked for a consultation for Ryanair, and if the issues are not resolved, the budget airline could face legal action.

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But Malcolm Ginsberg, editor-in-chief of Business Travel News, said: "Initially fares [on Ryanair] are going to be very, very cheap, but then they're going to steadily go up".

Ryanair's offer to passengers features several conditions, including assessing the cost of flights on other airlines "on a case by case basis" before bookings are made. The main reason is to reduce the "risk of further cancellations", which will be eliminated after the airline suspended 2,100 flights during six weeks due to a failure distributing "pilot vacations".

"There are clear laws in place, which are meant to assist passengers in the event of a cancellation, helping minimize both the frustration and inconvenience caused by circumstances completely out of their control", CAA Chief Executive Andrew Hainess said on Thursday.

The regulatory body says it contacted the airline earlier this month for reassurance that customers would be provided with accurate information regarding their rights and entitlements.

Ryanair has cancelled more than 450 flights out of Dublin between November and March. It added 34 routes will be affected by the temporary winter suspension, including London Stansted to Glasgow and Edinburgh, London Gatwick to Belfast, Newcastle to Faro, and Glasgow to Las Palmas.

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