It appears that the European laws governing airlines and their management will be upheld at least for the time being. Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair, has done a dramatic turnaround from stating that the airline would only be responsible for the cost of cancelled tickets to agreeing to pay “reasonable receipted expenses”. T
The expenses in this case are the ones incurred by passengers whose flights were cancelled due to the volcanic ash in the air following the recent eruption of Eyjafjallajökull.
O’Leary’s company, which reportedly made a profit of £348 million in the six months prior to September last year, initially said that it could not afford to compensate passengers for expenses, and O’Leary stated that he would go to court in defence of his policies.
However the uproar caused by O’Leary’s decision, which was exacerbated by the actions of other airlines such as EasyJet, has resulted in an about-face on the part of Ryanair.
The company now says that it will pay expenses in compliance with EU law, though O’Leary still contends that the laws are unfair. He says he intends to keep on working with the European Low Fares Airlines Association and others in the industry to change the existing regulations and reduce the liability of the airlines in situations like this.
O’Leary also said that government agencies are at fault in overreacting to the flight danger. This may even be true to some extent, but the fact that other airlines showed no hesitation in compensating their customers for food and lodging in addition to ticket prices has made Ryanair look pretty bad in the eyes of the public.