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Ryanair to sue government for £3m

BBC | August 25 2006

Ryanair is to sue the government for £3.3m for losses it says it incurred after security measures were imposed at UK airports earlier this month.

Ryanair gave the government a one-week deadline to normalise security procedures introduced after a alleged transatlantic bomb plot was foiled.

Passengers are limited to taking one small piece of hand luggage and are being subjected to frequent searches.

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary called the security measures "a shambles".

'Government failure'

If successful in its legal action, Dublin-based Ryanair said it would give the proceeds to charity.

"It is a shambles and a cock-up and we are giving terrorists and extremists a victory," Mr O'Leary said.

"The government has, two weeks after the events of 10 August, still failed to get UK security back to normal."

Mr O'Leary warned that the current security measures would result in delays over the Bank Holiday weekend.

The government has said it will not pay compensation or "compromise security" by easing travel restrictions until the threat level has significantly receded.

Chaotic scenes

After details of the bomb plot emerged, the government banned passengers from taking any hand luggage onto flights leaving the UK.

The measures led to chaotic scenes at Heathrow and other leading UK airports as hundreds of flights were cancelled and thousands of passengers experienced long delays.

Restrictions were eased slightly several days later but the measures have been fiercely criticised by Ryanair, BA and other carriers.

BA has said it is considering seeking compensation from airports operator BAA for failing to handle airport security efficiently during the emergency.

The security clampdown has been particularly problematic for Ryanair because it prefers to put as little luggage into plane holds as possible to ensure a quick turnaround of flights and thus maintain lower prices.

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