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'This company has simply treated passengers abysmally': Ryanair criticised in EU Parliament

The airline was criticised it on numerous fronts for its treatment of its workers and passengers.

Image: RollingNews.ie

RYANAIR CAME IN for strong criticism from members of the European Parliament yesterday following weeks of turmoil at the airline.

MEPs held a special debate yesterday evening over the issues with the low-cost airline, which has cancelled thousands of flights between September and March.

The airline cancelled 2,100 flights between September and October and a further 18,000 between November and March, as a result of what it said is a rostering issue.

Those present in the European Parliament tore into Ryanair, criticising it on numerous fronts for its treatment of its workers and passengers.

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy said that the airline had “deliberately misled” customers concerning their rights as passengers under EU regulations.

“They refused to disclose correct information on compensation rights until its hand was forced,” said Carthy.

He was referring to last week’s ultimatum from the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority for the airline to correct its compensation policy for passengers or face sanctions.

Carthy took aim at Ryanair for its treatment of workers.

“Ryanair refuses to negotiate with trade unions, it forbids its workers on many basis from organising,” he said.

And remember, this debacle of cancelled flights is a direct result of pilots and other workers fleeing Ryanair.

Carthy was referring to numerous reports which point towards hundreds of Ryanair pilots leaving the airline over the past year.

Ryanair has flatly denied that this is the cause of the flight cancellations, saying instead it is down to the airline having to roster a large number of holiday time for its workers.

“The episode demonstrates the promoting of so-called competitiveness to the detriment of workers’ rights cannot and will not succeed,” said Carthy.

“Ears burning”

Also addressing the issue, Irish MEP Mairead McGuinness said that Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary’s ear would be burning if he was listening to the statements.

“Ryanair has work to do. On connecting with passengers they have work to do,” she said.

Other MEPs also took aim at the airline over the issue.

French MEP Karima Delli said that the widespread cancellations of flights was “another provocation by this low-cost airline”.

“400,000 passengers have been penalised because of bad management, bad planning. It’s a joke,” she said.

This company has simply treated passengers abysmally… It’s not low cost it’s zero service.

She called on the European Commission to ensure the airline lives up to European legislation when it comes to passengers rights.

“But at the same time we have to think about sanctions,” she said.

The European Commissioner for transport Violeta Bulc was also among the speakers. She said it was the responsibility of Irish authorities to oversee the airline.

Ryanair has come under strong political pressure to ensure customers are properly compensated for the cancellations.

It has also come under consumer pressure, with its share price dropping since the incident.

Read: EasyJet is likely to be the major winner from Ryanair and Monarch Airline’s woes

Read: Ryanair drops from top 100 Irish brands list after seating-allocation storm

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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