Ryanair has rejected a claim that it owes some €20 million in refunds to Irish customers amid the pandemic.
The Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) raised concerns over outstanding refunds at the Oireachtas Transport Committee this morning, as travel agents have been locked in a battle with the airline over refunds for months.
The ITAA told TDs and Senators that only a “trickle” of refunds are being issued by Ryanair to its customers, for cancelled flights booked through its members.
However, Ryanair has insisted that it does not deal with travel agents and instead offers refunds directly to customers through a customer verification form.
There’s about 20 million due back to the customers of Ireland
ITAA chief executive Pat Dawson said the paperwork to seek a refund from the airline is onerous.
“There is a long jam, and it’s been slowed down… by Ryanair, and we figure that in Ireland alone there’s about 20 million due back to the customers of Ireland,” he said on Tuesday.
“Talking to my European colleagues, there’s a vast amount of monies all over Europe due as well.”
In a statement, Ryanair said the ITAA claims are false and that only a small number of refunds are outstanding as the airline has not received a refund request directly from the customer.
The airline argued that some travel agents are delaying refund requests for fear they will expose the overcharging of passengers.
It claimed some agents may charge higher fares or a fee to book a Ryanair flight on behalf of a customer.
At the Oireachtas Transport Committee meeting on Tuesday, the ITAA also warned that the prospect of no international travel this year will require a “bespoke” response from the Government to save the sector.