The Commercial Court of Barcelona has ruled that no compensation should be paid to customers whose flights are cancelled due to strike action.

The ruling declares that airlines should not have to pay out compensation under EU261 legislation because internal strike action is beyond their control.

Irish carrier Ryanair, which has been arguing that it does not have to compensate passengers affected by recent strikes across Europe, has welcomed the judgement.

The carrier claims it fully complies with EU261 rules and has re-accommodated or refunded all passengers whose flights have been cancelled as a result of the walk-outs by pilots and cabin crew in recent months.

Ryanair has said in the past the strikes are truly beyond its control, claiming they were incited by rival airline unions.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has called on the carrier to pay out compensation, while the European Court of Justice ruled earlier in the year that strikes cannot be considered extraordinary circumstances and therefore should be eligble for a pay-out under EU261 legislation.  

Commenting on the ruling, chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said: “We welcome this ruling by the Commercial Court of Barcelona confirming that no compensation is payable to customers when the strike delay/cancellation is beyond the airline’s control. If these strikes, by a tiny minority of Ryanair crew, were within Ryanair’s control, there would be no strikes and no cancellations.

“In recent years during which there were over 15 days of pilot and cabin crew strikes in Germany, Lufthansa was not required to pay EU261 compensation. Similarly, the UK CAA should also explain why it took no EU261 action against BA during last year’s cabin crew strikes.”

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