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Ryanair on April 4 will begin imposing a two-euro per-passenger levy to
fund its "costs of flight cancellations, delays and EU261 costs in 'force
majeure' cases where the airline is not responsible for either the delays or
cancellations," according to a company statement. EU261 is the
controversial European Union legislation requiring airlines to provide
assistance and, in some cases, financial compensation for passengers affected
by lengthy flight delays or cancellations. Ryanair claimed that the majority of
the €100 million it incurred in EU261-related costs during the past year
resulted from circumstances beyond its control, including the volcanic ash
crisis, snow-related airport closures and air traffic controller strikes.
A Ryanair spokesman said that when EU261 was introduced, airlines were
assured that they could recover costs for cancellations and delays from the
parties that caused them. "However, the airlines have no right of recovery
for governments (when they close airspace), ATC unions (when they repeatedly
walk off the job) or airports (who can’t even clear snow off their runways),”
the spokesman said. Ryanair added it would reduce or eliminate the new levy if
regulations are reformed effectively.