British Airways is refusing to pay compensation for delays caused by an emergency landing of one of its planes, despite an official report finding that engine panels were not closed properly during maintenance.
The airline argues it does not have to pay compensation for the cancellations and delays caused because the closure of Heathrow airspace during the incident on 24 May was an ‘extraordinary circumstance’.
Airlines do not have to pay compensation if the problem is caused by extraordinary circumstances that are beyond their control. However, they do have to pay compensation if the delay was something the airline could have prevented.
BA emergency report
A report by the Air Accident Investigation Branch found that doors on both engines had been left open during overnight maintenance and this had not been spotted before departure. The doors had been opened to check oil levels.
BA cancelled about 200 flights in the wake of the incident, and the airport closure meant many other airlines also had to cancel flights.
BA Heathrow cancellations
British Airways said it would meet all its legal obligations under EU regulation 261, which gives people the right to compensation for flight cancellations and delays.
However, the airline insisted the closure of Heathrow would fall under the definition of extraordinary circumstances, which would mean it did not have to pay compensation.
‘We did all we could to offer duty of care including giving out refreshments and hotel rooms during Friday and will meet any additional duty of care related claims in our normal way,’ said a spokesman.
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