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Ryanair faces legal action for misleading passengers whose flights have been cancelled due to strikes, including some 35,000 whose flights have been grounded today.

The Civil Aviation Authority announced yesterday that it had launched enforcement action against the airline 'for persistently misleading passengers with inaccurate information regarding their rights in respect of its recent cancellations'.

Earlier this month, it waned Ryanair that it must ensure customers were given accurate, comprehensive information relating to their rights and entitlements.

However, yesterday the CAA issued the following statement: "Today, in announcing thousands more cancellations to its scheduled programme, the airline has again failed to provide customers with the necessary and accurate information relating to their passenger rights, particularly around rerouting and care and assistance entitlements, which includes expenses.

"We have now told Ryanair that we are expediting enforcement action against them."

The CAA said that if the airline refused to comply, the next step would be legal action.

Today's strike action by crew in six European countries has led to the cancellation of around 250 flights - 100 of which were grounded at the last minute when pilots in German voted to join the industrial action taking place in other countries.

Approximately 35,000 people have been affected, which is around one in 10 of the airline's passengers due to travel today, and most were given no more than three days' warning of the disruption, but the airline is adamant they - and other passengers hit by strikes earlier this year - are not due any compensation under EU261 regulations.

Under the rules, airlines are obliged to compensate passengers for cancellations made within two weeks of their departure date unless the reason is out of the airline's control. Ryanair is arguing that as crew from other airlines are involved in the strikes, it has no control over the events.

Ryanair said in a statement: "No compensation is payable to customers when the delay/cancellation is beyond the airline's control. If these strikes, by a tiny minority of Ryanair crew, were within Ryanair's control, there would be no strikes and no cancellations.

"In recent years during which there were over 15 days of pilot and cabin crew strikes in Germany, Lufthansa was not required to pay EU261 compensation. Similarly, the UK CAA should also explain why it took no action against BA during last year's cabin crew strikes."

"As these strikes are being promoted and driven by competitor employees, they are regrettably beyond Ryanair's control.

"Ryanair sincerely regrets these unnecessary customer disruptions, which have been called by unions at the behest of competitor airline employees."

Despite the industrial action, Ryanair said in an update on Twitter this morning that 90% of its flights would operate today.

Courtesy of Travelmole
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