- CAA action brings about policy changes from Jet2, Aer Lingus and Wizz Air, who will now offer passengers better support during disruption
- Boost for UK holidaymakers setting off on summer holidays this month
- Second compliance review of airlines' policies underway
- CAA will shortly announce further action against operators for failing to comply with the regulations
UK passengers can now look forward to improved support during disruption, following the UK Civil Aviation Authority's (CAA) enforcement action against three major airlines.
Following an extensive review of airline policies, the CAA announced in March this year that it had commenced action against Jet2 and Wizz Air regarding the airlines' approach to paying compensation for delayed and cancelled flights. The CAA was concerned the airlines were not paying compensation for flights disrupted by ordinary technical faults, despite a Court of Appeal decision last year meaning airlines are legally obliged to pay compensation in these circumstances.
The CAA also had evidence that both the airlines were imposing a two-year time limit on passengers making claims following disruption. This is despite a separate Court of Appeal decision last year, which clarified that passengers have up to six years from the date of disruption, to refer a compensation claim to court.
In addition, the CAA's review of airline policies found issues with the way Jet2 and Aer Lingus, the third airline to face enforcement action, provided information to passengers during disruption. Under European regulations, airlines must provide proactive information to passengers about their rights during long delays and cancellations.
Following this action, the CAA is pleased to announce that Jet2 and Wizz Air have individually confirmed they are now paying compensation for ordinary technical faults. Jet2 is also now processing compensation claims dating back six years and both Jet2 and Aer Lingus have now agreed to improve the quality of information they provide to passengers during disruptions and have signed legal undertakings confirming this.
In our role as consumer champion, the CAA continues to monitor the policies of airline operators and review their implementation to ensure compliance with the law. Later this year the CAA will publish its second compliance review of airlines' policies. In line with the CAA's enforcement policy we will stand up for passengers' interests and will not hesitate to take action against airlines, if we believe operators are not acting as they should.
Andrew Haines, Chief Executive of the CAA said:
“We're now in the busiest time of the year for air travel and UK passengers are right to expect that if they experience disruption their airline will look after them. Our work is about making sure that is exactly what happens.
“During the last year we've stepped in to make sure a number of major airlines change their approaches and improve the support provided to their passengers.
“The results of our recent action are a further boost for UK passengers and we are very pleased to see the changes the airlines involved have made. But our work is not done.
“We are determined to stand up for passengers and will continue to review how airlines are treating, and responding to, their customers in practice.
“Furthermore, while we recognise not every claim for compensation will be eligible, we are keen to hear from people who feel they have not been treated fairly and where we believe airlines are not complying with the law, we will pursue all available enforcement options.”
Hungarian airline, Wizz Air, has refused to remove its two-year limit on claims, and the CAA has now referred this matter to the Hungarian Authority for Consumer Protection (HACP), which is the local regulator best placed to take forward this enforcement action.
The CAA is pleased to confirm that the HACP has agreed to take up the case under arrangements of the Consumer Protection Co-operation (CPC) network, which enables the CAA to request enforcement bodies in other EU countries take action to stop airline practices that harm UK consumers. The CAA will continue to work closely with the HACP as it pursues this case.
For media enquiries, please contact the CAA press office on 020 7453 6030 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow the CAA on Twitter @UK_CAA.
Notes to editors
- The support passengers are entitled to during disruption - including information about their rights and financial compensation - is set out in European Commission regulation EC261/2004. More information on your rights during delays and cancellations is available from the CAA website.
- The CAA's review looked at the policies of the 15 airlines operating in the UK with the highest passenger figures. This covered over 80 per cent of the UK's aviation market.
- The review was carried out as part of a new enforcement approach that places the onus of compliance on airlines, with the CAA targeting enforcement resources specifically at problem areas.
- The CAA used its formal powers under Part 8 of the Enterprise Act 2002 to resolve the issues identified for the benefit of consumers and to ensure that airlines operating in the UK treat passengers fairly when adhering to the requirements under EC261/2004.
- While the CAA is not an ombudsman and does not have the power to force airlines to pay individual passengers' claims, it can take action in the collective interest of consumers for breaches of consumer law. In April this year, the CAA also announced plans to establish ombudsman-style bodies to help passengers resolve disputes with airlines in the future. The new bodies would have the power to give binding decisions on issues such as flight delay compensation claims, which the airline would have to abide by.
- The CAA's regulatory enforcement policy is also available on our website.
- The CAA is the UK's specialist aviation regulator. Its activities include: making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards; preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of tour operator insolvency; planning and regulating all UK airspace; and regulating airports, air traffic services and airlines and providing advice on aviation policy.