The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is to take Ryanair to court in an effort to force it to settle thousands of compensation claims
The claims resulted from a series of strikes by Ryanair pilots and cabin crew over the summer that led to numerous cancellations and delays.
Whilst the CAA insists the passengers are entitled to the compensation under EU law, Ryanair insist that strike action is covered by the "extraordinary circumstances" rule, which means that they have no case to answer.
Like many airlines, Ryanair had signed agreements agreeing to abide by the decisions of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service. However, it has now terminated its involvement in the process.
Figures provided by ADR show that Ryanair have been responsible for the highest proportion of airline claims this year, with the Irish budget airline accounting for 30% of all cases.
Ryanair passengers with pending claims against the airline will now need to await the result of the CAA action before having any chance of receiving compensation.
Ryanair are clearly hoping that UK courts follow the precedent already set by German, Spanish and Italian courts in ruling that strikes do in fact qualify as 'exceptional circumstance', meaning that no compensation is needs to be paid to passengers.
However numerous consumer rights organisations have welcomed the move by the CAA, sighting the airlines efforts to avoid paying compensation as “shirking their responsibilities to their customers.