London-British competition regulators have reversed the proceedings against Ryanair and British Airways for failing to provide refunds to passengers who were blocked from flying due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Instead of offering refunds to those who couldn’t fly legally during the pandemic blockade, British Airways, owned by IAG, offered vouchers or rebookings, and Ryanair offered rebooking options.
The Competitive Markets Authority (CMA) filed a proceeding against the airline in June, stating that passengers who were unable to board a flight booked in good faith should regain their money.
But on Thursday, the law said it did not give passengers a sufficiently clear right to refund in such unusual circumstances.
Andrea Coscelli, CEO, said he “strongly believes” that CMA should offer passengers a full refund.
“But after reviewing the relevant legislation and gathering evidence in the investigation, the length of time and uncertain consequences required to bring the proceedings to court can no longer justify the further cost of public funding. I conclude, “he said.
He added a CMA who wanted the law to be clear.
Ryanair said it welcomed the decision. “We ran a limited schedule during the UK blockade for customers who traveled for essential reasons,” said a spokesman.
“Passengers have the option to change their booking without paying the flight change fee, and many have taken advantage of this option.”
British Airways said in a statement that it had always acted legally during the crisis, with nearly 4 million refunds and a very flexible booking policy.
“We are grateful [our customers’] Support for times when you’ve been navigating a dynamic and rapidly changing travel ban to maintain a tight schedule. “
By Paul Sandle and Alistair Smout