Britain's aviation regulator on Wednesday announced legal action against budget airline Ryanair over its refusal to pay compensation to passengers affected by strikes this summer.
The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said it had launched enforcement action after the airline refused to compensate passengers whose flights were cancelled due to strikes by Ryanair staff.
Ryanair deemed the strikes "unreasonable" and claimed this meant the tens of thousands of passengers affected by hundreds of flight cancellations across Europe were not entitled to compensation under EU regulations.
The CAA said it rejected the airline's claim that the industrial action, organized by trade unions, constituted "extraordinary circumstances" that could be exempt from the compensation provisions.
Under EU legislation for flight cancellations, an airline should pay 250 euros to each passenger, unless they are informed at least two weeks in advance or are offered alternative flights
arriving at their destination the same day.
An airline can withhold compensation if it can show that the cancellation is "caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken," according to the rules.
Ryanair argued in late July that no compensation was payable "when the union is acting unreasonably and totally beyond the airline's control."
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