Ryanair on Swedish consumers’ ‘black list’

Discount airline Ryanair flouts rulings by Sweden’s National Board for Consumer Complaints (ARN) more than any other company.

The airline has landed at the bottom of a “black list” of rogue companies published by consumer advocacy magazine Råd & Rön.

The list ranks companies based on their compliance with ARN rulings.

Ryanair has failed to comply with ten new ARN rulings ordering the company compensate travelers between 2000 to 7000 kronor ($320 to $1130) for delayed and cancelled flights.

In 2006 and 2007, ARN ruled in favor of passengers demanding compensation from Ryanair in 35 separate disputes. But in only nine instances did the airline follow the agency’s recommendations.

In failing to pay travelers, the airline may also be failing to follow EU regulations governing airline’s obligations to passengers.

Last fall, Sweden’s Consumer Ombudsman (KO) took Ryanair to court for not paying passengers the compensation they deserve.

The case involved a Swedish couple flying from Brussels to Stockholm who was forced to wait two days for another flight after the original flight was cancelled shortly before takeoff.

“We and Ryanair have different interpretations of EU rules,” said ARN spokesperson Torsten Palm to news agency TT.

Palm noted that the question of which party’s interpretation of the rules is correct will be decided in court, although he gave no indication of when the case may be heard.

In addition to Ryanair, Råd & Rön’s latest list of companies accused of bad behavior includes a number of car companies. Handymen are also well represented due to disputes over kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects.


Airline Norwegian cancels 3,000 flights due to coronavirus impact

Low-cost airline Norwegian Air Shuttle said on Tuesday it would cancel “approximately 3,000 flights” from mid-March to mid-June as the coronavirus outbreak hits travel.

Airline Norwegian cancels 3,000 flights due to coronavirus impact
Photo: Rune Feldt Rasmussen/Zuma/Ritzau Scanpix
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The cancellations represent 15 percent of the airline's capacity for the period.

“The past week, Norwegian has experienced reduced demand on future bookings. The company will cancel about 3,000 flights to meet the change in demand. The cancellations represent approximately 15 percent of the total capacity for the period mid-March to mid-June,” the company said in a statement to the Oslo stock exchange.

The company added that the cancellations would affect the airline's entire network.

“More details will be shared as soon as they are ready to be implemented. Affected customers will receive information about these changes as soon as they take place,” the statement continued.

A significant number of staff at the company are likely to be affected by the decision.

“Unfortunately, cancellations will affect a significant share of our colleagues at Norwegian. We have initiated formal consultations with our unions regarding temporary layoffs for flying crew members as well as employees on the ground and in the offices.

“We will continue to engage in constructive dialogue with unions and employees to work through this difficult situation together,” Norwegian CEO Jacob Schram said in the statement.

Norwegian has already suspended flights between Oslo and Milan until May based on travel guidelines from Norway's foreign ministry as well as health authority recommendations.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) last week estimated that losses in revenue for airlines due to the new coronavirus could range from $63 billion (55 billion euros) to $113 billion, depending on whether the spread of the virus was contained.

Norwegian, which has been in deficit for three years and is heavily indebted due to an ambitious expansion policy, especially in long-haul flights, is particularly vulnerable.

Last Thursday, the company withdrew its 2020 forecast, which predicted a return to profits, citing the new coronavirus epidemic.

In early afternoon trading on Tuesday, shares in Norwegian were down 5.8 percent on the Oslo Stock Exchange.

Meanwhile in neighbouring Denmark, authorities on Tuesday banned all flights to heavily affected areas, such as parts of China, Iran and Italy, for two weeks.

The Danish government also urged people to avoid public transport during rush hours.

On Tuesday, Denmark had 158 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, and Norway had 192.