Two Court of Appeal judgments were handed down last month and have been described as landmark court rulings for the flight compensation industry. The first case refers to the Dawson vs. Thomson Airways court hearing whereby the judge rejected the use of the Montreal Convention as a legitimate defence meaning that Mr Dawson won in court. Several airlines were using the Montreal Convention in order to avoid paying compensation if the delay occurred more than two years ago. The second case refers to the Huzar vs. Jet2.com court case whereby the judge rejected technical faults as a legitimate excuse for a flight delay and so it was found that Mr Huzar was entitled to compensation. The judgments of these two cases have been crucial to define whether or not a passenger is entitled to claim compensation or not. Now that the airlines have been rejected in court it means that airlines can no longer use the Montreal Convention or technical faults as excuses to avoid paying compensation to passengers for flight delays. However both airlines have subsequently petitioned the UK Supreme Court for one more attempt for the right of leave to appeal. Before the rulings, passengers would go around in circles battling against airlines and the process was extremely tedious.
Based on these new rulings, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have estimated that on average approximately 220 million passengers per year use UK airports. From these passengers, statistically 1.5% of flights to/from these airports are delayed by more than 3 hours and so these passengers could potentially claim compensation. This is equivalent to approximately 3.3 million passengers per year. As the EC Regulation allows people to claim compensation for delays dating back as six years this amounts to a total of 20 million passengers who could claim flight delay compensation. The CAA estimated that 90% of EC 261 claims are due to technical defects and so 17 million passengers could stand to be affected by the outcome of the Huzar case. The average compensation payout is €430 which means that airlines will face approximately €6 billion worth of compensation because of this new ruling. €6 billion is a terrifying amount of money to be losing, which is why it is not surprising that flight prices are set to rise. Airlines will be making this money back through other means the most obvious way of doing so is by increasing fare prices.
The battle between airlines and passengers is like a game of cat and mouse, which implies that the battle is never-ending. It is becoming a constant “game” between the airlines and the passengers as neither party is able to secure a definitive victory over one another. Even though the airlines seem to lose in court and on paper they claw their money back through other measures. Which is why the battle must go on and passengers should continue to claim compensation for flight delays. Blueway Limited is a flight delay refunds company whose purpose is to help passengers reclaim the compensation that they deserve.