EU top court says that Ryanair must provide proper care for volcano-stranded passengers

The Associated Press

BRUSSELS - The European Union's top court says that Irish low-cost airline Ryanair has to pay out compensation to passengers that were stranded because the 2010 volcano eruption in Iceland.

The European Court of Justice said Thursday that airlines face an obligation to provide care, even in such "extraordinary circumstances" as the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, which left millions of passengers stranded because it was too dangerous to fly through the ash clouds.

The court gave its opinion after a one Irish passenger was stranded in southern Portugal for a week during the crisis and demanded compensation of almost €1,130 ($1,530.13).

Ryanair has said it paid out €26.1 million to stranded passengers but it has refused many claims, citing their "excessive" cost. The court said passengers can only claim "reasonable" costs.