February 17, 2016 No Comments

The Spanish Courts & The Ryanair Saga

A Spanish court has ruled that a consumer association that claimed Ryanair was the ‘lowest of the low’ was within their rights and has rejected the second appeal made by the budget airline in an on-going libel case.

The court in Seville said the association had not excelled its right to freedom of expression. As well as rejecting the plea, they ordered Ryanair to pay all costs associated with the appeal.

As well as the lowest of the low jibe, the consumer group Facua also accused Ryanair of swindling and mocking customers. The criticism occurred via numerous press statements and radio shows following feedback from Ryanair customers.

Other comments made by Facua labelled Ryanair of being the worst company of the year and they claimed the airline used fraudulent practices to inflate prices against unsuspecting passengers.

The court, rather than agree with Ryanair that this was a libel case, simply stated for the second time that the consumer association was fulfilling its purpose and had a right to express concern due to the large amount of complaints received by previous customers.

Had Ryanair proved that the customer complaints were unfounded and had no legal base, then they would have taken a different view but this was not the case.

One such complaint was concerning a practice where customers were charged extra for printing boarding cards. Another complaint referred to an incident where a grounded plane was left on the tarmac at Seville airport and passengers had no access to air conditioning.

These complaints came to light in 2012 and in 2013, causing Ryanair to declare they were bringing a defamation suit against Facua. Perhaps the most serious of complaints made by Facua were that pilots of Ryanair often asked for priority landing status because of a shortage of fuel. Ryanair has strongly denied these claims and insist all fuelling schedules are in line with EU regulations.

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