Ryanair welcomed a ruling by the commercial court in Barcelona that no compensation should be paid to passengers whose flights are cancelled due to strike action.

The ruling, which was the ninth to be made in Spanish courts in recent months, declared that compensation under EU261 legislation should not be given in situations where flights are cancelled because of internal strike action, as they are deemed to be beyond an airline’s control.

The low fares carrier, which this week issued a profits warning due in part to concerns over ongoing strike action, claimed that if the industrial action was within its control, “there would be no strikes and no cancellations”.

Ryanair added that it fully complies with EU261 legislation, a section of European law that guarantees passengers compensation in the event of most flight delays and cancellations.

Chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said: “We welcome this ruling by the commercial court of Barcelona confirming that no compensation is payable to customers when the (strike) delay/cancellation is beyond the airline’s control.

“If these strikes, by a tiny minority of Ryanair crew, were within Ryanair’s control, there would be no strikes and no cancellations.

“In recent years during which there were over 15 days of pilot and cabin crew strikes in Germany, Lufthansa was not required to pay EU261 compensation.

“Similarly, the UK CAA should also explain why it took no EU261 action against British Airways during last year’s cabin crew strikes.”

The airline has long opposed what chief executive Michael O’Leary has called a “ridiculous” piece of legislation.

Under the rules, refreshments must be provided free of charge to passengers if a flight is delayed by more than two hours.

If the delay is more than three hours, passengers are entitled to compensation of at least €250.

If a flight is cancelled, they should be given a choice of either a full refund or a re-routing at “the earliest opportunity,” as well as compensation, if the cancellation was at short notice.

Ryanair, which has been hit by a wave of strikes, warned this week that it could not rule out further disruption in the final three months of the year.

As many as 30,000 passengers were affected by strike action on one day alone late last month as the airline was forced to cancel 190 flights.