Italy’s civil aviation authority has imposed a fine of just over $4 million on the Irish low-cost airline, Ryanair, for failing to help passengers stranded during the disruption caused by a volcanic ash cloud last month.
The Italians say Ryanair failed to provide passengers at an airport in Rome with drinks, meals and hotel rooms.
Tens of thousands of flights were grounded during a week of travel chaos caused by the ash cloud from a volcano in Iceland.
The Italian civil aviation authority said its own staff had to help stranded Ryanair passengers in Rome, and it cited 178 cases where the company had breached the rules.
During the closure of European airspace, Ryanair – led by the combative Michael O’Leary – at first said it would only refund ticket costs, but later relented and said it would stick by the EU’s rules.
It has made no comment so far on the Italian fine.