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Ryanair puts €2 levy on all passengers from Monday

Airline says passengers will have to pay for costs of compensation the company is legally obliged to pay under EU law in case of flight cancellations and delays.

UPDATED 18.10

RYANAIR HAS JUST announced that it is to put a €2 levy on all passengers on all bookings made from next Monday.

The airline says the levy is to fund the cost of the EU261 legislation that compensates passengers who face delays or cancellations of flights. Ryanair claimed today that it has incurred costs of over €100m “arising from flight cancellations, delays and providing right to care, compensation and legal expenses arising from more than 15,000 flight cancellations and over 2.4 million disrupted passengers”. It claims that the majority of these claims arose during circumstances beyond their control during the volcanic ash crisis, ATC strikes in continental Europe and snow and ice closures.

The company stated:

It is unfair and discriminatory that airlines are made liable for providing refunds, meals, hotels and phonecalls during ATC strikes, bad weather airport closures, or (volcanic) airspace closures when even travel insurance companies avoid liability during these “force majeure” events, and when competing transport providers (rail, ferries and coach operators) have no such “force majeure” liability under their equivalent EU261 regulations.

It said that these costs could not be placed “onto airlines without being passed on to passengers”.

The National Consumer Agency has told TheJournal.ie that it is “very disappointed” by Ryanair’s levy move. A spokesperson said:

The exceptional costs incurred by the airlines in 2010, particularly arising from the volcanic ash disruption, are significant but are unlikely to be repeated. Nevertheless, it is proposed to impose the levy on an ongoing basis. This is likely to result in a lucrative additional revenue stream for Ryanair.

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