Ryanair hits back at Italian authorities over seat surcharges
Ryanair has hit back at the Italian civil aviation authority ENAC in a dispute over additional fees for seats allocated to adults accompanying minors and people with disabilities, claiming the authority had made incorrect statements.
ENAC had warned on Tuesday that it could fine Ryanair after preliminary checks showed it had not yet adapted its IT and operating systems to ensure that a surcharge was not charged when the reservation of seats next to minor passengers or disabled people.
ENAC had previously urged airlines operating in Italy to cancel seat surcharges by August 15, after an Italian court dismissed a request by Ryanair in early August to freeze a settlement on the issue until a court hearing on September 8.
But the Irish carrier, for whom Italy was the biggest market in terms of turnover in the fiscal year ended March 31, responded on Wednesday that ENAC’s claims were “incorrect” and “misleading. “.
Ryanair put in place temporary measures on August 13 to ensure that adult passengers accompanying minors or passengers with special needs have several options. [themselves] of seats allocated free of charge, ”said a spokesperson.
She added that this was a temporary solution “because it was impossible to completely change the reservation system within the unreasonable time limit set by ENAC”.
ENAC had also said that Ryanair had only changed a detail of the contract allowing passengers not to pay or to obtain reimbursement of the surcharge after a complex procedure.
“[Ryanair’s] the behavior is based solely on the profit of the carrier and does not protect the rights of passengers or respect safety rules, ”ENAC President Pierluigi Di Palma said on Tuesday.
ENAC added that it was ready to impose a fine of € 35,000 on Ryanair and was also considering filing a complaint against it.
The Ryanair spokeswoman added: “It is misleading for ENAC to characterize its interference with the airline’s commercial freedom to set prices as a safety concern.