Ryanair could face legal action for “persistently misleading” passengers about their rights after it cancelled thousands of flights.
Hundreds of thousands of travellers have been affected by cancellations, with the airline announcing two major rounds of groundings in recent weeks.
Now, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is launching “enforcement action” against the low-cost carrier, with the regulator’s chief executive announcing he is “furious” with the company.
According to the CAA, Ryanair falsely claimed it did not have to re-route passengers on other rival airlines.
In addition to this, the airline is accused of not making it clear on its website that it was obliged to refund all expenses travellers incurred as a result of flight cancellations, including meals, hotels and transfer costs.
Andrew Haines, the head of the CAA, told Sky News that the company had shown “disregard for consumers and the law”.
In a further statement, Haines added: “There are clear laws in place which are intended to assist passengers in the event of a cancellation, helping minimise both the frustration and inconvenience caused by circumstances completely out of their control.
“We have made this crystal clear to Ryanair, who are well aware of their legal obligations, which includes how and when they should reroute passengers, along with the level of information it provides its passengers.”
A spokesperson for Ryanair said this morning that the company would “comply fully” with CAA’s requirements - a statement Haines said he would take “with a pinch of salt”.
The budget airline announced yesterday it would be suspending 34 of its routes over winter, affecting up to 18,000 flights and 400,000 passengers between November and March 2018.
Over the six month period, Ryanair will ground 25 planes out of its 400 aircraft fleet, with the move affecting flights from London Stansted to Edinburgh and Glasgow, Newcastle to Faro and Gatwick to Belfast.
Speaking yesterday, Ryanair’s chief executive Michael O’Leary said: “We sincerely apologise to those customers who have been affected by last week’s flight cancellations, or these sensible schedule changes announced today.
“From today, there will be no more rostering-related flight cancellations this winter or in summer 2018.”
According to the airline, its most recent move will impact “less than 18,000 of our 800,000 annual flights” - the equivalent of less than one flight per day.
Passengers who have been affected have been offered refunds or re-accomodation, as well as a travel voucher worth up to €80, O’Leary added.
For a full list of Ryanair flights cancelled between November and March, click here.