Ryanair to impose passenger levy
Budget airline Ryanair is to introduce a two euro levy per passenger for all bookings made from April 4.
The Irish no-frills carrier said the levy was to fund its costs under the EU261 European passenger compensation regulation.
Ryanair said that over the past year it has suffered costs of over 100 million euros arising from flight cancellations, delays and providing right to care, compensation and legal expenses.
It said these arose from more than 15,000 flight cancellations and over 2.4 million disrupted passengers, "with the majority of these claims arising in three periods during which Ryanair was prevented from flying by the failure/inaction of third parties".
This included the spring 2010 Icelandic ash cloud crisis, the air traffic control (ATC) strikes in Europe last summer and the airport closures due to the bad weather before Christmas.
Ryanair said if the EU261 regulations were reformed, it would reduce or eliminate the levy. Spokesman Stephen McNamara said: "The EU261 regulations are clearly discriminatory in the way they are applied to airlines, by making airlines responsible for delays, cancellations and right of care expenses during force majeure (unforeseeable) events such as volcanic eruptions, the snow closure of airports and the frequent ATC strikes across Europe.
"It is clearly unfair that airlines are obliged to provide meals and accommodation for passengers (for days and weeks in some cases), simply because governments close their airspace, or air traffic controllers walk off the job, or incompetent airports fail to clear their runways of snow."
He went on: "While we regret the imposition of this levy, the extraordinary costs which have been imposed on us by delays and cancellations under these discriminatory regulations must be recovered from passengers."
Bob Atkinson, of travelsupermarket.com, said: "While, on the face of it, this new charge by Ryanair may not be welcomed by passengers, the airline is at the very least being transparent about the fee.
"Every other airline that flies in or out of the EU will have had to have absorbed these costs as a result of the EU261 regulation payouts and this will have manifested in either increased airfares for customers or reduced margins for shareholders."