The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is launching “enforcement action” against Ryanair for failing to give customers accurate information about their rights following a wave of flight cancellations.
The regulator has asked for a meeting with the airline as part of a consultation that will last at least seven days and could take legal action for breaching consumer protection laws “if necessary”.
The CAA wrote to the firm explaining its decision. It said the company falsely claimed it did not have to re-route passenger on other airlines, particularly when there are no other services available.
It added that Ryanair also stopped short of providing details on its obligations to refund additional expenses incurred as a result of cancellations and re-routing.
Those expenses include meals, hotels and transfer costs, the CAA explained.
It failed to correct that information through a public statement despite CAA requests to do so earlier this month, having already seen about 2,000 flights grounded after the company miscalculated pilot leave.
The company has since cancelled an extra 18,000 flights for the winter season in a move that will hit 400,000 customers.
The regulator said it was concerned Ryanair was breaching consumer protection laws by withholding that information.
CAA CEO Andrew Haines said: “There are clear laws in place which are intended to assist passengers in the event of a cancellation, helping minimise both the frustration and inconvenience caused by circumstances completely out of their control.
“We have made this crystal clear to Ryanair, who are well aware of their legal obligations, which includes how and when they should reroute passengers, along with the level of information it provides its passengers.
“The information Ryanair published today again fails to makes this clear.
“In expediting our enforcement action, we are seeking to ensure that Ryanair’s customers will receive the correct and necessary information, to make an informed choice about an alternative flight.”
In a statement Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said: “We are in correspondence with the CAA and have requested an early meeting to address their concerns.”