Air fares will rise as a result of the European Court rejecting an appeal by Ryanair after a passenger claimed compensation for a cancelled flight during the 2010 ash cloud disruption.

Ryanair issued a warning of higher fares as it responded to the ruling.

The decision “now allows passengers to claim for flight cancellations which are clearly and unambiguously outside of an airline’s control,” Ryanair said.

“The ruling by the European Court now makes the airlines the insurer of last resort even when in the majority of cases (such as air traffic control delays or national strikes in Europe) these delays are entirely beyond an airline’s control.

“The decision will materially increase the cost of flying across Europe and consumer airfares will increase as airlines will be obliged to recover the cost of these claims from their customers, because the defective European regulation does not allow us to recover such costs from the governments or unions who are responsible for over 95% of flight delays in Europe.”

Ryanair claimed governments closed large swathes of European airspace “unnecessarily” in response to “non-existent” ash clouds over Ireland, the UK and continental Europe.