Ryanair is to charge all its passengers a levy of 73c to meet the cost of providing wheelchairs at Dublin, Shannon, Stansted and Gatwick airports.

The budget airline announced the charge after it lost a landmark court ruling today. It had previously charged a wheelchair user for the service but a court in London has ruled that to be illegal.

Bob Ross, a community worker from north London, had claimed the €25 he was charged at Stansted was unfair and discriminatory. The court agreed and ordered Ryanair to compensate him.

Ryanair argues that airports should pay the cost of supplying wheelchairs and is to appeal the ruling.

Speaking on RTÉ radio, Senator Pascal Mooney labelled the levy bad grace and a public relations disaster.