Ryanair under fire as Spain seeks talks on safety rules

Ryanair under fire as Spain seeks talks on safety rules

Ryanair came under fresh pressure over safety yesterday as the Spanish government sought talks with the European Commission and Irish civil aviation authority over the latest incidents involving the carrier.

At the same time, Ryanair stood accused of breaching the European directive on passenger rights after a flight took off from Croatia to Sweden last Friday without any passengers.

Spanish transport secretary Rafael Catala announced he had requested a meeting with European Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas and Irish authorities to discuss tightening safety controls on foreign-owned carriers.

The move followed two unplanned landings by Ryanair aircraft in Spain last week owing to technical problems. 

On Saturday, a Ryanair flight from Bristol to Reus made an emergency landing at Barcelona after developing a problem with an engine.

On Sunday, Ryanair blamed a “small technical problem” for an unplanned landing at Madrid by an aircraft bound for Tenerife from Paris.

A third Ryanair flight made an emergency landing at Palma de Majorca last week following turbulence that resulted in slight injuries to two crew members and a passenger.

Ryanair pointed out it operates more than 1,500 flights a day, said the incidents were isolated and the unplanned landings demonstrated its commitment to safety.

However, Ryanair is already subject to an investigation in Spain over emergency landings at Valencia on July 26 when three aircraft were reported to have run low on fuel.

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary accused Spanish authorities of orchestrating a campaign against the carrier last week.

Yet the airline was also under fire in Sweden after cancelling a flight from Rijeka in Croatia to Skavsta (near Stockholm) last Friday because of high winds. The flight took off later with no passengers.

The Swedish media reported one family paid more than £760 to get home by taxi, train and a flight from Italy.

Passenger Mirva Axlesson told Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet: “We knew we were travelling with a budget airline, but we never thought they would leave us behind. We never thought they would behave this badly.”

The Swedish consumer agency pointed out EU regulations give passengers “the right to help with rebooking” and “the right to food and accommodation” in such circumstances.

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