The number of holiday makers whose compensation claims have been refused by airlines has inched into the tens of thousands as carriers continue to quote the EUs extraordinary circumstances clause as just cause for delay. This refusal comes as a surprise to passengers since the Supreme Court has not given any indication that it will entertain the stance of airlines in this matter.
In fact, the ruling awarding a £975 plus interest compensation to Ronald Huzar, a Jet2 passenger, was upheld by the Appeals court as being reasonable and this made huge waves in flight delay news at that time. The appeal refusal prompted many airlines to start processing flight delay claims going back several years for delays occurring from similar causes. It is believed that the total delayed flight compensation that is still being held back by airline carriers could amount to over £350m.
Jet2 and Ryanair still hoping for favourable decision
It appears that despite the refusal to allow Jet2 to make an appeal to the Supreme Court, the airline carrier still harbours hopes of getting a favourable decision. It is not just Jet2 that is continuing its push for staying flight delay claims; Ryanair, Wizz Air and Flybe appear to be just as keen as many other air carriers. Fresh calls for stays are being made by these airline companies based on the Van Der Lans v KLM case that has recently been referred to the EU court.
Awaiting the final decision in the KLM case
It appears that these airline companies are following a policy of waiting and watching with respect to the KLM case that is yet to come to a resolution in the European courts. It is possible that these airlines are hoping to get some clarity on what exactly is covered under the EUs definition of extraordinary circumstances. Evidently, the expectation would be that the definition allows them to reject a good majority of the delayed flight compensation claims that have been filed by their passengers. Sources reveal that Jet2 has made contingency plans in case they do have to pay the claims and for this purpose, slightly over £17 m have been earmarked by the airline business.
CAA indicates displeasure with the airlines delaying tactics
On the other side of the screen is the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the industry regulator that is clearly unhappy with the endless delaying tactics that the airlines are employing in this situation. According to CAA spokespersons, the regulator is exploring avenues to take stringent action against airline companies that are refusing to pay out flight delay claims despite the recent clarifications given by the courts in several flight delay cases. On a more positive note, many airlines have come forward to announce they will accept responsibility for flight delays and have said they will pay compensation to the affected passengers. It can only be hoped that the others that have not yet done so, such as Jet2, Flybe and Ryanair, will fall in line in the near future.