Ryanair has been fined €3 million for failing to help passengers caught up in the volcanic ash crisis.


In a statement on Saturday, Italy’s civil aviation authority said it knew of 178 cases of passengers who did not receive “mandatory assistance” between April 17 and 23, when much of Europe’s airspace was closed because of the ash cloud.


Italy’s air agency Enac accused the no-frills airline of not providing food or drinks to passengers stranded in Rome’s Ciampino airport.


It said Ryanair passengers stuck in Rome had to be helped by its own staff, members of Italy’s Civil Protection agency and employees of the Rome airports operator.


In contrast, almost all the other airlines provided adequate assistance to stranded ticket-holders, Enac said.


Under EU regulations, passengers are entitled to care if their flight is cancelled and they are waiting to be rerouted.