Ryanair boss reveals how much longer customers will have to wait for their refunds

As the coronavirus pandemic swept the globe, airlines in their masses were brought to the ground. Irish-carrier Ryanair was one such airline, cancelling all holiday flights on March 24 and leaving customers with ruined holiday plans.


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Though the airline has since announced its plans to return to the skies once more, many customers say they still have not received refunds for their cancelled flights.

Now, Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has revealed just how much longer some customers might be left waiting for their money.

Customers are rightly entitled to their money back in full if the airline made the decision to cancel a flight according to current EU law.

However, while refunds are normally issued within two weeks in normal circumstances, the unprecedented nature of the pandemic has left many travellers out of pocket for far longer than they anticipated.

Mr O’Leary has now said that customers who are still waiting should be reunited with their cash within the next 10 to 12 weeks.

The chief executive told BBC Breakfast that the company was working through a backlog of around 35 million refunds.

He explained: “We are dealing with an unprecedented record backlog of cancellations.”

Mr O’Leary added: “The good news is we are about 40 percent of the way through the process and we have already paid out nearly 500 million euro and we’ve got another 600 – 700 million euro to go, we think we will get through that in the next 10 to 12 weeks.”

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Eighty-four per cent of Ryanair passengers who asked for a refund told consumer advocate group Which? they have still not received their money back.

Only five per cent of Ryanair customers surveyed said they had their money returned to them within seven days – the time frame that EU carriers are legally obliged to process refunds within.

Mr O’Leary emphasised: “We are assuring everyone that your refund is safe, if you want the cash refund you will get it, just be patient because we have to process a record backlog of cancellations caused by Government measures and we have limited staff in our offices to process these refunds, but they are on their way.”

The news comes as the airline makes moves to relaunch its operations, with plans to be flying a 40 percent itinerary by July 1.


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As part of the plans, new health and hygiene rules are being implemented for both passengers and crew.

This includes the mandatory wearing of “face coverings” by everyone onboard.

Passengers may also be subject to temperature checks at airports, and all aircraft will undergo a rigorous cleaning regime nightly.

Social distancing as much as possible both at airports and in cabins will be advised.

Ryanair’s CEO Eddie Wilson said: “It is important for our customers and our people that we return to some normal schedules from 1 July onwards.

“Governments around Europe have implemented a 4-month lockdown to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

“After four months, it is time to get Europe flying again so we can reunite friends and families, allow people to return to work, and restart Europe’s tourism industry, which provides so many millions of jobs.

“Ryanair will work closely with public health authorities to ensure that these flights comply, where possible, with effective measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.

“Now that Europe’s States are allowing some gradual return to normal life, we expect this will evolve over the coming weeks and months. With more than six weeks to go to 1st July, Ryanair believes this is the most practical date to resume normal flight schedules, so that we can allow friends and families to reunite, commuters to go back to work and allow those tourism-based economies such as Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, France and others, to recover what is left of this year’s tourism season.

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