Ryanair in court to reverse €400 compensation awards
on 05/02/2013 14:53:04
Peter Lennon, solicitor for Ryanair, told Judge Jacqueline Linnane today that the airline had already agreed to pay Ellen Verbeek and Ferry Nelissen of Venlo, The Netherlands, €1,118.62 each Cost of Care overnight expenses arising from the cancellation.
He said that a European Small Claims Procedure, in accordance with EU Regulation 261/2004, had been brought before Swords District Court where the judge, having examined written evidence, awarded each of the passengers €1,918.62, a figure which included €400 compensation.
Mr Lennon said Ryanair was appealing the award of €400 compensation in each case on the basis that the flight cancellation, from Faro to Dusseldorf on July 29, 2011, had been caused by extraordinary weather conditions.
He told Judge Linnane that a scheduled incoming Ryanair flight to Faro, which was then to have taken the Dutch passengers on to Dusseldorf, had been unable to land because of low cloud and fog over Faro and had been diverted to Seville in Spain. As a result there was no aircraft to fulfil the Faro - Dusseldorf leg.
Barrister Hugh O'Flaherty, for the Dutch fliers, said they claimed that other aircraft continued to land and take off from Faro on the date and around the same time as the Ryanair flight commander had considered it unsafe to land there and had diverted.
They claimed there had not been extraordinary weather conditions.
Mr O'Flaherty said that because of work commitments his clients had to book a flight to Dusseldorf for the following day with another airline and had claimed for taxis, hotel B&B, food and beverages and additional flight costs.
Ryanair flight operations manager Ian Wallace said the diverted flight had been held circling between Portugese and Spanish air space for 20 minutes before the decision to divert for safety reasons.
It had been considered unsafe to make an approach to Faro.
Mr Lennon told Judge Linnane that last week the European Court of Justice, while holding that Ryanair must pay Cost of Care expenses with regard to flight delays, had ruled that the airline was exempt from paying statutory compensation.
Mr Lennon and Mr O'Flaherty are to prepare written legal submissions for the court.
Judge Linnane said the importance of the issue before her was not reflected in the small amount of compensation that had been awarded by the lower court.