Belgian Minister of Consumer Affairs Kris Peeters refers Ryanair to obligations towards the traveller on expected strike

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Belgian deputy prime minister and minister of Employment, Economy and Consumer Affairs Kris Peeters will contact Ryanair’s management to ensure that the rights of passengers affected by the announced strike of 25 and 26 July will be safeguarded.

Kris Peeters: “A strike is not a form of force majeure. Travellers may therefore choose between a refund or an alternative flight if their booked flight is cancelled due to the strike. I will contact Ryanair to ensure that the correct procedure is being followed and, in the coming weeks, my services will follow-up this very closely.”

EU air passenger rights apply:

  • If your flight is within the EU and is operated either by an EU or a non-EU airline
  • If your flight arrives in the EU from outside the EU and is operated by an EU airline
  • If your flight departs from the EU to a non-EU country operated by an EU or a non-EU airline
  • If you have not already received benefits (compensation, re-routing, assistance from the airline) for flight related problems for this journey under the relevant law of a non-EU country.

Cancelled flight

Cancellation occurs when:

  • your original flight schedule is abandoned and you are transferred to another scheduled flight
  • the aircraft took off but, was forced to return to the airport of departure and you were transferred to another flight
  • your flight arrives at an airport which is not the final destination indicated on your ticket, unless:
    • You accepted re-routing (under comparable transport conditions at the earliest opportunity) to the airport of your original final destination or to any other destination agreed by you. In this case it is considered as a delay and not a cancellation.
    • The airport of arrival and the airport of the original final destination serve the same town, city or region. In this case it is considered as a delay and not a cancellation.

If your flight is cancelled you have the right to reimbursement, re-routing or return, as well as the right to assistance and a right to compensation. Compensation is due if you were informed less than 14 days prior to the scheduled departure date. The airline has the obligation to prove if and when you were personally informed that the flight was cancelled. If this is not the case you can contact your national authority for further assistance.

However, compensation is not due if the carrier can prove that the cancellation is caused by extraordinary circumstances.

Extraordinary circumstances – Cancellation

Extraordinary circumstances can lead to more than one cancellation or delay at the final destination. Examples of events defined as extraordinary circumstances are air traffic management decisions, political instability, adverse weather conditions and security risks.

Situations which are not considered as extraordinary circumstances include:

  • most technical problems which come to light during aircraft maintenance or are caused by failure to maintain an aircraft
  • collision of mobile boarding stairs with an aircraft
  • bird strike

If an airline invokes extraordinary circumstances the reasons must be clearly explained. An airline does not have to pay compensation in the event of cancellation or delay at arrival if it can prove that the cancellation or delay is caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken. If you are not provided with a satisfactory explanation you can contact your national authority for further assistance.

Source: EU Passenger Rightsweb site Kris Peeters

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