“The European Court of Justice has clearly ruled that Ryanair is obliged to provide care in cases such as that faced by Ms. Denise McDonagh, who was stranded in Portugal between the 17th and the 24th April 2010 without any airline assistance” said Labour MEP for Munster Phil Prendergast, hailing the court’s decision.
Ms. Prendergast, a member of the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, today said: “Not only did Ryanair fail to assist Ms. McDonagh with any of the costs she incurred with meals, refreshments, accommodation and transport, but they also claim that the volcanic ash cloud that caused the flight cancellation was too extraordinary and unforeseeable. This is Ryanair’s argument to justify their refusal to reimburse her for the costs she incurred.
“As the Court rightly pointed out in its response to the Dublin District Court, where she challenged Ryanair for this failure, there is no legal concept of events so particularly extraordinary as to exempt any airline from assisting travellers left stranded.
“This would have meant that only those passengers affected by more routine causes of delays and cancellations would be afforded protection and a right to care under EU law.
“Logically, those left most vulnerable and stranded in an airport for days on end, due to extreme circumstances, are the ones most in need of care, which the Court sees as a duty of the airlines.
“Moreover, the Court was unequivocal in its judgment that, under the EU regulation on compensation and assistance to passengers, in such events, (Regulation EC 261/2004), there is no temporal or monetary limit.
“Thus, an airline’s obligation to care for passengers exists for as long as they are left stranded.
“The court’s ruling gives clear guidance for the Dublin Court to grant Ms. McDonagh reimbursement for the expenses of over €1000 she incurred during her forced stay in Portugal, and to deem Ryanair’s extraordinary argument as pie in the sky.
“I look forward to such an outcome, and hope that other passengers won’t hesitate to claim their rights further to it.”