CAA passenger complaints data

Date: 20 November 2013

The UK Civil Aviation Authority is today publishing passenger complains data for the first half of 2013.

Please note that the raw data presented is user-generated complaint data and has not been validated by the CAA - as such, we are unable to say what proportion of claims can be considered valid.

The tables published consist of:

1. 2013 Q1 Jan-Mar all complaints data
2. 2013 Q2 Apr-Jun all complaints data

3. 2013 Q1 Jan-Mar complaints by reason
4.2013 Q2 Apr-Jun complaints by reason

5. 2013 Q1 year to end of March 2013 complaints by airline>
6. 2013 Q2 year to end of June 2013 complaints by airline

The tables 5 & 6 include a calculation for the number of complaints received per million passengers carried by airline in the previous 12 months. Due to the changes in reporting set out below, these figures should be treated with caution, as they may not be comparable by airline.

Future reporting of passenger complaints received by the CAA will take place on a quarterly basis, with publication within three months of the end of the quarter.


During the first half of 2013 there were significant changes in the passenger complaints received by the CAA, and the ways in which we process complaints. The information below aims to put the complaints in context given those changes, and they should be considered if the data is to be used for making historical comparisons:

Change in how the CAA handles complaints

In March 2013, the CAA implemented a new system for recording and processing passenger complaints. This change involved to a transition period during the first half of 2013 where both systems were in operation, prior to the full closure of the old system in June 2013. Future reporting will be from the new system only.

Key changes between the two systems include:

• The new system allows for multiple reasons for a complaint to be recorded for a single complainant. This may increase the number of complaints recorded per passenger, but gives a better reflection of the issues passengers have raised.
• There have also been some changes in the categorisation of complaint reason between the two systems.

More information on these changes can be found here: Notes on new system for recording and processing passenger complaints

Changes in the legal basis for airline complaints handling

The sharp increase in the number of complaints received relates to the outcome of a legal case in October 2012. This has given rise to a large number of historical complaints in the first half of 2013. Due to the nature of the ruling, the biggest impact has been on the complaints received for charter airlines, which tend to operate delayed flights, rather than cancel and reschedule as scheduled airlines tend to. This table shows the year to which the complaints received in Q1 and Q2 2013 related: Complaints by year

Notes to editors
1. More information on these changes can be found here: Notes on new system for recording and processing passenger complaints
2. The CAA Passenger Advice and Complaints service is not an ombudsman scheme and does not have the ability to decide individual cases or impose requirements. We will advise whether we think you have a valid complaint and if so will take it up with the business concerned. We use data from the complaints we receive to consider taking enforcement action against a particular business for a pattern of non-compliance with legislation.
3. The CAA cannot take up a complaint if it relates to a flight departing from another EU country.
4. 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 from an economic standpoint.