Crazy claims will put up prices, says Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary
Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary has labelled an EU court's decision to make airlines pay compensation to stranded passengers "stupid", and said it would result in ticket prices going up.
Mr O'Leary made his comments during a press conference at East Midlands Airport yesterday, where he had turned up to announce the launch of five new European routes by the budget airline.
The European Court of Justice has ruled airlines are obliged to cover the costs of stranded customers' food, accommodation, transport and communication, even in "extraordinary circumstances", such as the 2010 volcano eruption in Iceland.
It follows a claim by Denise McDonagh, who was stranded in Faro, Portugal, for a week while waiting for a flight home to Dublin after the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland. She successfully demanded 1,130 euros (£970) compensation from Ryanair.
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Mr O' Leary said the ruling would open the floodgates for passengers to seek compensation, and the cost would be inevitably be passed back on to passengers.
He said: "It's a stupid decision – it will mean air fares go up while we deal with crazy compensation claims – but I suppose that is the joy of being in the EU. Where the airlines are not responsible you can make us responsible – it's like suing Toyota because your car is stuck on the M25.
"These events happen with depressing regularity and what if a volcanic eruption goes on for three months?
"The airlines would go bust dealing with all the claims."
Mr O'Leary was far more upbeat when it came to talking about Ryanair's expansion at the Castle Donington airport.
From this summer the carrier will add to its list of destinations Girona and Menorca (Spain), Marseille (France), Poznan (Poland) and Zadar (Croatia).
"We like it here, we have a good relationship with East Midlands Airport," Mr O'Leary said. "It's a well managed airport and they are very proactive – they have been the ones encouraging us to add extra destinations."