UPDATE 1-Ryanair to appeal UK court order to compensate strike-hit customers

(Updates with background, file photos available)

DUBLIN, April 29 (Reuters) - Ryanair is to appeal an English High Court ruling that it must compensate customers hit by a 2018 pilot strike, the airline said on Thursday.

The Irish airline, Europe’s largest low-cost carrier, in 2018 told customers disrupted by widespread pilot strikes that they were not eligible for compensation under EU law because the industrial action represented “extraordinary circumstances.”

Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority took legal action to challenge the classification of the strikes as “extraordinary circumstances” and the High Court on Thursday agreed with that interpretation.

Ryanair, whose position had been backed by a lower court last year, said it would appeal.

“We have instructed our lawyers to appeal this decision and we are confident that it will be successfully overturned,” a spokeswoman for the airline said. (Reporting by Conor Humphries Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Nick Zieminski)