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Commissioner for Aviation Regulation’s soft approach did passengers no favours - Imelda Munster TD

4 October, 2017 - by Imelda Munster TD

Sinn Féin’s Spokesperson for Transport Imelda Munster TD has criticised the “softly” approach taken by the Commissioner for Aviation Regulation regarding passengers’ rights in the wake of the recent cancellation of thousands of flights by Ryanair.

Speaking at the appearance of the Irish Aviation Authority and the Commissioner for Aviation Regulation (CAR) at the Oireachtas Transport Committee, Deputy Munster said:

“Ryanair were invited to the meeting to answer questions about the situation, but we received a letter from Michael O’Leary declining the invitation.  Ryanair’s lawyers also sent a letter to the Committee warning members against mentioning ongoing legal disputes which Ryanair are party to.

“The contrast between the approach of the British Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Commissioner for Aviation Regulation is striking. It was the action taken by the CAA that provided the clarification on passengers’ rights that had been sorely lacking from Ryanair in the days after the flight cancellations were announced.

“Ryanair did not inform the IAA or CAR about the cancellations, despite the fact that they must have been planned some time prior.

"The information provided to passengers in the wake of the cancellations proved to be incomplete, in that passengers were not informed of their rights to book alternative flights with other airlines. It took three emails from the CAR before the correct information was eventually provided to passengers by Ryanair.”

“Meanwhile, the CAA in Britain took no nonsense from Ryanair on this matter. They threatened legal action, issued an enforcement notice to the company and gave them a deadline.

"This proved to be a more effective way of resolving the matter, and that lies to reason, given Ryanair’s famously bolshy and aggressive style of management.

“If it wasn’t for the actions of the CAA this matter might not have been resolved so quickly. The softly softly approach of the CAR proved ineffective, and I hope they learn lessons from this and apply them in future similar cases”.

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