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Stranded fliers win Ryanair court fight

TWO Dutch passengers who were left stranded in Portugal following a flight cancellation, have been awarded cost-of-care expenses against Ryanair in the Circuit Civil Court.

Judge Jacqueline Linnane had heard last month that the airline had agreed to pay Ellen Verbeek and Ferry Nelissen cost-of-care overnight expenses arising from the cancellation, but claimed it was exempt from paying statutory compensation.

Judge Linnane had adjourned the case to allow Peter Lennon, solicitor for Ryanair, and Hugh O'Flaherty, counsel for the passengers, to prepare written legal submissions for the court.

Mr O'Flaherty said yesterday that the Dutch fliers were withdrawing their claim for statutory compensation.

Mr Lennon had earlier said that a European Small Claims Procedure, in accordance with EU Regulation 261/2004, had been brought before Swords District Court where the judge, having examined written evidence, awarded the passengers €1,795.12, a figure that included compensatory damages.

The court had heard Ryanair was appealing the award of compensation on the basis that the flight cancellation, from Faro to Dusseldorf on July 29, 2011, had been caused by extraordinary weather conditions.

Mr Lennon had told Judge Linnane that last January the European Court of Justice, while holding that Ryanair must pay cost-of-care expenses with regard to flight delays, had ruled the airline was exempt from paying statutory compensation.


The court had heard that a scheduled incoming Ryanair flight to Faro, which was then to have taken the Dutch passengers on to Dusseldorf, had been unable to land because of low cloud and fog over Faro and had been diverted to Seville in Spain. As a result there was no aircraft to fulfil the Faro–Dusseldorf leg.

Mr O'Flaherty had earlier said the Dutch passengers claimed there had not been extraordinary weather conditions. Judge Linnane awarded the passengers €865.18 cost-of-care expenses, and legal costs.