Ryanair Calls For EU Action Over Strike

Ireland's budget carrier Ryanair has urged the EU to take action over the imminent strike action by Spanish air traffic controllers.

The no frills said last night it will operate "hand baggage only" flights to and from the country on Wednesday this week to combat the 24 hour strike.

Stephen McNamara from Ryanair said they had tried to give affected passengers "options".

"What we're saying to people is that if you're due to travel on Wednesday and if you checked in before 2.00pm on Monday, we're asking you to recheck in and to travel with hand luggage only.

"Obviously we know for some passengers that simply won't be possible but for about 70% of our passengers, they were actually due to travel without any checked in bags."

Ryanair said passengers would get a refund on their luggage.

However, Ryanair passengers are not eligible for compensation if flights are cancelled due to the strikes, citing a get out clause from "extraordinary circumstances".

Ryanair's website states: "If a Ryanair flight is cancelled and no suitable alternative flight is available, or you have advised Ryanair about your decision not to continue your journey; we will process a refund of all monies paid in respect of the unused flight sectors on your reservation back to the form of payment used to pay for the original booking.

"Ryanair does not provide monetary compensation, pursuant under Article 7 of EU Regulation 261/2004 for flights that are delayed or cancelled for reasons beyond Ryanair's control (extraordinary circumstances). As per the regulation such circumstances may, in particular, occur in cases of political instability, meteorological conditions incompatible with the operation of the flight concerned, security risks, unexpected flight safety problems and strikes that affect the operation of an operating air carrier."

Mr McNamara went on to call on the EU Commission to take "urgent action" to prevent more ATC strikes, which come only a week after Ryanair claims it was forced to cancel over 250 flights due to strike action by French ATC.

The Spanish strike was introduced in protest against austerity measures by the country’s government. The strike action is also in an effort to secure plans to introduce labour market reform, including a rise in the retirement age.

In a statement today Ryanair called for the EU to follow the example "shown by Ronald Reagan in the early 1980’s" when he controversially fired and replaced US Air Traffic Controllers after they went on strike.

Mr McNamara said: “Europe’s airlines and passengers have suffered at the hands of ATC providers all summer long and now, ahead of yet another Spanish ATC strike, Ryanair is calling on the EU to take action to prevent further strike action."


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