Low-cost giant Ryanair received a fine of €1.85 million by the Italian competition authority on June 7, 2018, for canceling thousands of flights between September and October 2017, while failing to inform its customers properly.

The Irish company was prosecuted by the Autorita Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) for “improper business practices” after it canceled over 20,800 flights across Europe in order to “improve punctuality”. The AGCM claimed the cancellations caused “considerable inconvenience to consumers who had long planned their travels and already booked and paid for their flight ticket”.

Cancellations were attributed to pilot planning problems, as a lot of them were supposed to take holidays before 2018. However, some pilots revealed to AFP at the time that it was also symptomatic of the tensed relations within the company. Two months later, in December 2017, Ryanair announced it would recognize pilot unions. The fact that cancellations occured not because of unforeseeable problems exterior to the company, but due to managerial and organization issues led the AGCM to sue.

Another fault pointed out was the misguidance of the company when it came to informing customers. Even though Ryanair offered reimbursement to the 715,000 affected passengers, it failed “at first” to inform of the right to financial compensation, as the European regulation EU 261 requires. However, Ryanair changed its behavior since, by “sending individual communications to consumers”, which led the AGCM to reduce the original fine.

“We note the ruling which our lawyers are reviewing," a Ryanair spokesperson commented for AeroTime.