Ryanair has been threatened with legal action for “persistently misleading” passengers about their rights following thousands of flight cancellations.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)’s chief executive Andrew Haines said he was “furious” that the airline was not complying with the law.
The authority has launched “enforcement action” against Ryanair for wrongly claiming it did not have to re-route passengers on rival airlines.
Ryanair now says it will co-operate.
In a brief statement, the airline said: “We already comply fully with all EU261 legislation, are meeting with the CAA and will comply fully with whatever requirements they ask us to.”
The action comes after Ryanair cancelled a further 18,000 flights.
The CAA’s Mr Haines told the BBC that he very much doubted the dispute would get as far as the courts, but added it was “unacceptable” that Ryanair was disregarding the law and customers’ rights.
“These are simple things to fix and they’re choosing not to fix them,” he said. “People shouldn’t have to choose between low fares and legal rights.”
Mr Haines singled out Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary for particular criticism, telling Radio 5live: “Michael himself said he wasn’t going to pay for passengers to fly on other airlines. That’s against the law.
“My concern with Ryanair, and the reason we are speaking so openly, is they say one thing and yet they don’t follow it through.”
The fresh round of flight cancellations will be between November and March and affect the travel plans of a further 400,000 customers.
A total of 34 routes will be suspended this winter, including Stansted to Edinburgh and Glasgow, Gatwick to Belfast and Newcastle to Faro.
Earlier this month, the airline cancelled up to 50 flights a day through to the end of October, also affecting 400,000 passengers.
The regulator said…