Ryanair imposes €2 levy on flights

No-frills airline increases fares to cover €100m compensation costs for last year’s cancelled flights

30 March 2011

LOW-COST airline Ryanair is charging passengers an extra €2 each to help pay compensation costs due to cancelled flights.

The levy - £2 for UK bookings – applies to all bookings from Monday April 4 and is aimed to help recover the €100 million Ryanair was forced to pay out last year after more than 15,000 flights were hit by the Icelandic volcano cloud, snow closures and European air traffic controllers’ strikes.

Passengers will face an immediate six per cent rise in the €34 average fare. The levy is stand-alone and is not subject to flight tax, etc.

It is part of a move by no-frills Ryanair to get the European Commission to dump its EU261 regulations which offer passengers reasonable protection in the case of flight cancellations.

Rivals Flybe said “this is a smokescreen to cover their spiralling fuel costs and is a very thinly disguised fuel surcharge”.

During the ash cloud troubles last year airline boss Michael O’Leary initially refused to pay accommodation or food costs above the “original air fare paid” but a day later was forced into a U-turn.

The company said today it was “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”.

Spokesman Stephen McNamara added: “The EU261 regulations are discriminatory in the way they are applied, by making airlines responsible for delays, cancellations and right of care expenses during force majeure events such as volcanic eruptions, the snow closure of airports and the frequent ATC strikes across Europe.”

UK consumer group Which? has asked the Office of Fair Trading to investigate “excessive” credit and debit card charges on Ryanair flight bookings and other purchases.

Photo: Christian Lacombe

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