A county court ruling today confirmed that airline Jet2.com can no longer put the payment of delayed flight compensation on hold.
The ruling could potentially affect thousands of passengers with similar flight delay compensation claims in the UK.
A CAA spokesperson said: ‘The judgment of District Judge Jenkinson at Liverpool County Court reaffirms our longstanding view that airlines should abide by the ruling handed down by the Court of Appeal in Jet2 v Huzar last year.
‘There is no reason for airlines to place claims on hold and we fully expect them to pay passengers the compensation they are due.’
‘Justice delayed is justice denied’
Jet2 argued the compensation payments should be delayed until a ruling in a Dutch case on the same issue was heard in the European Court of Justice.
But the judge at Liverpool County Court ruled that ‘a line should now be drawn. Justice delayed is justice denied’.
The judge went even further in his criticism of the airlines, stating that air passengers feel they’re ‘on an airline-driven merry-go-round that shows no sign of stopping.’
Compensation claims no longer on hold
As a test case, it’s likely that all other flight compensation claims in England and Wales – across all airlines – will now follow its decision.
Lawyers for passenger Kim Allen claimed the ruling could benefit tens of thousands of consumers with delay compensation claims.
Her Jet2 flight was delayed by almost seven hours due to a technical problem – a flap slat fault – which occurred just before take off.
Kevin Clarke, flight delay lawyer at Bott & Co Solicitors, who represented Allen, said: ‘We’re delighted that once again the court has rebuffed the airline’s attempts to continue delaying legitimate passenger claims.
‘We would hope that the airlines will now finally face up to their obligations to passengers and to settle the hundreds of thousands of legitimate claims outstanding.
He added: ‘Sadly, the history of their conduct over the last decade would tell us to expect yet another legal challenge.’
This issue stems from the 2004 European Denied Boarding Regulations that oblige airlines to compensate passengers for cancellations and delays, unless they’re due to extraordinary circumstances.
A further ruling by the European Court of Justice in 2009 confirmed that delayed passengers should be treated as if their flights had been cancelled, if the delay was longer than three hours, entitling them to cash compensation.
Despite the ruling, a number of airlines in the UK are still arguing that some technical problems should be classified as extraordinary circumstances and, as such, no compensation should be due.
They have also argued that paying compensation for delays of three hours or more is disproportionate and too great a burden.