On 29 November Italy’s Antitrust Authority launched non-compliance proceedings against Ryanair, the Irish air line for alleged unfair commercial practices and breach of the Italian Consumer Code.
Following the spate of flight cancellations, on 25 October the Rome Administrative Court (TAR), ordered Ryanair to provide information to its passengers – either through easily accessible procedures on the home page of its website or by standard email or by sms – on how they could receive reimbursement, change the flights to alternative flights and receive other compensation. The cancelled flights occurred between 10 September –2 October and Ryanair was given a 10 day deadline to rectify the positon and ordered to provide a full written report to the court setting out details of all cancelled flights, to make the necessary information updates to its website and to inform all customers of their respective compensation rights. Ryanair filed a brief to suspend the order but this was rejected and Ryanair failed to comply with the court order.
The Antitrust Authority in initiating its investigations for non-compliance of a court order will look into the reasons for the cancellation of numerous flights which had been booked and paid for. It will examine whether these were indeed not due to unforeseen circumstances nor to technical operational matters nor due to other reasons outside the control of the airline as well as examining whether the information was conveyed to passengers in a professional manner: Ryanair risks monetary sanctions of up to Euro 5 million for the said breaches.
The Irish airline has 30 days to file defence briefs and documentation in its defence. A decision of the Antitrust Authority will be issued within 120 days.