Ryanair to levy passengers to recoup compensation costs

Ryanair, Europe's biggest low-cost airline, said Wednesday it would introduce a two-euro levy per passenger to recoup the cost of compensation it must pay following delayed flights or other disruption.

The Irish carrier said the levy, to be imposed from April 4, was to fund its costs under the EU261 European passenger compensation regulation.

Ryanair said that over the past year it has incurred costs of more than 100 million euros ($140 million) because of flight cancellations, delays and from other expenses caused by events largely out of its control.

This included the Icelandic ash cloud crisis, air traffic control (ATC) strikes in Europe and airport closures because of severe winter weather.

Ryanair said if the EU261 regulations were reformed, it would reduce or eliminate the levy.

Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara said in a statement: "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 added: "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."

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