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Court orders Emirates to pay millions for delaying pax

March 19, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Emirates is due to pay millions of dollars to thousands of passengers for flight delays, after Britain’s Supreme Court refused the airline permission to appeal a ruling on missed connections.

The decision may cost the Dubai-based carrier many millions in retrospective payments. It must pay the passengers EUR 600 (AUD 956) each.

“It is time for Emirates to pay what is owed,” Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority declared.

An Emirates spokeswoman told Gulf News: “We are very disappointed by the Supreme Court’s ruling denying us leave to appeal against the earlier judgement of the High Court in relation to the application of Regulation EC261 to flights of non-Community carriers originating outside of the EU.

“As one of the world’s largest airlines, we always comply with all legal requirements and based on the judgement, we’ll advise customers of our approach in due course.”

EC261 is European Commission passenger rights legislation that covers any traveller whose outbound flight from an EU member state arrives in Dubai less than three hours late, but sufficiently late that they miss their onward connection.

Emirates and several other airlines had contended that because the onward flight began outside the European Union, EU rules did not apply.

Britain’s Appeal Court had already rejected Emirates’ argument on a test case last October.

The Independent said the Supreme Court has now rejected the airline’s application for permission to appeal, finding that the case did not raise an arguable point of law, the European Court of Justice having already provided a clear answer.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) welcomed the court’s decision and confirmed it would now begin enforcement action against Emirates, which will be retrospective.

Chief executive of the UK Civil Aviation Authority, Andrew Haines, said: “Emirates priority should be looking after its passengers, not finding ways in which they can prevent passengers accessing their rights. They have failed in their attempts to overturn the Court of Appeal Judgement, which now means that millions of pounds worth of compensation is due to its customers. It is time for Emirates to pay what is owed.

“These types of court cases can be avoided when airlines commit to the Alternative Dispute Resolution scheme, to ensure a legally binding resolution to any disputed complaints about delays, cancellations and baggage. 35 airlines have already committed to ADR covering almost 80% of UK passenger journeys. This case highlights why it is so important for Emirates and the other remaining airlines, to follow suit in the interests of their passengers.”

Britain’s CAA commenced enforcement action against five airlines, including Emirates, last year for failing to compensate passengers who had suffered a long delay as a result of a missed connection outside the EU. Four of the airlines moved into compliance following the CAA’s enforcement action, however Emirates sought leave to appeal to the Supreme Court, which has now been refused.

The CAA stated: “The Civil Aviation Authority will now progress its enforcement action against Emirates to ensure that it complies with the law, requiring them to amend their policies and practices and to pay claims it had incorrectly refused previously.”

Written by Peter Needham

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