31-Mar-2011 1:49 PM

Ryanair introduces EUR2 levy to offset costs outside its control

Ryanair will introduce a EUR2 per passenger compensation levy to cover the costs of several major cost items outside the airline’s control (FinFacts/RTE/The Guardian, 30-Mar-2011). According to Ryanair, these include flight cancellations, delays and “costs in 'force majeure' cases where the airline is not responsible for either the delays or cancellations". The LCC said it has cancelled more than 15,000 services and disrupted more than 2.4 million passengers, costing it over EUR100 million in cancellations, delays and providing right to care, compensation and legal expenses. The majority of these claims, says Ryanair, arose in three periods during which the airline was prevented from operation due to “the failure/inaction of third parties”. In a full year, the fee would generate EUR144 million, based on 2010’s 72 million passengers carried. The new charge will be applied to all tickets from 04-Apr-2011.

These periods include:

  • The Icelandic volcano airspace closures of April/May 2010,
  • The snow closures of many EU airports during November/December 2010;
  • Over 15 days of national air traffic control strikes, primarily in Belgium, France, Germany and Spain in summer 2010.

A flybe spokesman said: "We note with interest Ryanair’s move to increase its ticket prices. Whatever they might be saying in public, anyone with even modicum of knowledge of the aviation industry knows this is a smokescreen to cover their spiralling fuel costs and is a very thinly disguised fuel surcharge."

Ryanair: “The EU261 regulations are clearly discriminatory in the way they are applied to airlines … Despite repeated calls, the EU has failed to make Europe’s ATC services an essential service, which (like their US ATC counterparts) should not have the right to strike … It is clearly unfair that airlines are obliged to provide meals and accommodation for passengers (for days and weeks in some cases), simply because governments close their airspace, or air traffic controllers walk off the job, or incompetent airports fail to clear their runways of snow. When the EU261 regulations were first introduced, airlines were assured that they could recover the cost of these cancellations and delays from those parties who caused them.” Stephen McNamara, spokesman. Source: FinFacts, 30-Mar-2011.

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