Dutch fine Ryanair for misleading fare information

Ryanair, an Ireland-based budget air carrier, has been handed a fine by authorities in the Netherlands.

The penalty of EUR370,000 has been imposed on the airline for allegedly promoting fares without the inclusion of fees and surcharges, resulting in customers having to pay ‘considerably more’ than the fare first advertised, according to the Dutch authorities.

Failing to make the full cost of bookings transparent was a violation of European regulations, the Dutch consumer authority added, saying, ‘Ryanair offered air fares on its website that did not include all foreseeable and unavoidable costs, such as fees and surcharges. Consumers paid considerably more than the air fares that were initially displayed.’

Further criticism of the airline’s booking format in the Netherlands included: customers not having the opportunity to amend details before their booking was completed, difficulty in contacting the airline for assistance, and the lack of information in the Dutch language.

However, a spokesman for Ryanair responded, saying, ‘The decision of the Dutch consumer authority is littered with errors. Ryanair will appeal this unfounded decision and confirms its website fully complies with all EU and Dutch consumer protection regulations.’

According to authorities in the Netherlands, Ryanair’s booking processes have now been revised to provide accurate prices.

News of the fine comes just days after Ryanair announced a major purchase of new aircraft. The order for 175 Boeing jets is worth USD16bn, and the company could order another 125 according to a statement given to the Financial Times by Ryanair chairman, Willie Walsh.

Ryanair currently has a fleet of 305 Boeing aircraft.


KLM Announces Services from Manston Airport in UK to Amsterdam

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, the national airline of the Netherlands, will be offering services from Manston airport in eastern Kent, UK, to Amsterdam, in The Netherlands.

The new services commence from April 2, 2013, with twice daily flights from Manston airport to Schiphol airport. With the new route, the airline will be operating to 17 airports in the UK. The airline will be flying up to 80 passengers on its Fokker 70 jets.

Henri Hourcade, the UK general manager for KLM, said, ‘Demand for efficient and convenient schedules to long-haul destinations from the UK continues to grow to emerging markets in Latin America, Africa and the Far East, but equally to established markets such as North America.

By connecting the UK regions to worldwide destinations, KLM is offering more choice to holidaymakers, but equally adding to the infrastructure for regional UK businesses.’

Currently Manston Airport is being served by only charter operators, Newmarket Holidays and Jersey Travel. KLM will be the only scheduled service from the airport when it commences its operations.

Charles Buchanan, the chief executive officer at Manston Airport, said, ‘The new services will be a real benefit to Kent and its residents. Passengers will be able to arrive at Manston, park adjacent to the terminal building, check in and be on the flight to Amsterdam within minutes, a hassle-free experience that makes travelling a pleasure. Passengers from Manston can leave home without the worries of road congestion or excessive flight delays affecting their journey.’

Earlier the airline entered into a code share agreement with Flybe, a UK-based airline company, on two routes in UK; between Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and Southampton Airport in England; and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and Inverness Airport, in Scotland.

KLM, with the new code share, is offering its customers three daily flights to Southampton from Amsterdam; and a daily flight to Inverness from Amsterdam; the agreement being effective May 30, 2012.