Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary slams volcano compensation decision on visit to East Midlands Airport
The boss of Ryanair today 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.
Michael O'Leary, the budget airline's chief executive, made his comments during a press conference at East Midlands Airport in Castle Donington.
The straight-talking Irishman was there to announce the launch of five new European routes by the carrier.
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.
ENJOY YOUR EVE WITH FREE ENTRANCE & 20% OFF YOUR FOOD BILL WITH...View details
NEW LEBANESE HOME BUFFET EVERY DAY @ CEDARS LEBANESE REST £ 6.99 pp STARTING @ 11 AM TILL 16:00 PM
Terms: LIMITED VOUCHERS AVAILABLE BOOK IN ADVANCE ONLY & PRINT THIS VOUCHERS CALL NOW : 01162519057
Contact: 0116 2169184
Valid until: Saturday, May 25 2013
It comes after 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 in 2010. She successfully demanded 1,130 euros (£970) compensation from Ryanair.
Mr O' Leary said the ruling would open the floodgates for passengers to seek compensation and the cost would be inevitably be passed onto 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 onto for three months?
"The airlines would go bust dealing with all the claims."
However, Mr O'Leary was far more upbeat when it came to talking about Ryanair's expansion at East Midlands Airport. The airline today announced new destinations, taking the total routes it operates from the airport to 40.
From this summer the carrier will add Girona, Spain, Marseille, France; Menorca, Spain; Poznan, Poland and Zadar, Croatia.
"We like it here, we have a good relationship with East Midlands airport," said Mr O'Leary.
"It's a well managed airport and they are very proactive – they have been the ones encouraging us to add extra destinations."