Alternative dispute resolution or ADR is a way of settling a dispute without having to rely on the courts. Where a consumer has tried to resolve an issue with a business but has been unable to agree a satisfactory outcome or where the business has not responded or engaged sufficiently, the ADR body will assess all relevant and available information to reach a decision that the business must abide by.. In line with the relevant legislation, the government may appoint competent authorities to approve ADR providers as fit to offer ADR services to consumers in specific sectors and has appointed the CAA as the competent authority for aviation.
The CAA‘s role, as a specialist aviation regulator, combined with its strategic objective to improve choice and value for aviation consumers, means it is best placed to consider the competence and suitability of ADR applicants to provide alternative dispute resolution procedures to consumers of aviation.
Airlines who have appointed an ADR body to handle unresolved complaints should notify the passenger when they reach “deadlock” – where the business and consumer cannot agree on a way forward with the complaint. A consumer way also contact the appointed ADR body after 8 weeks if they have not had any communication with the business in this time.
We have published the CAA’s overarching policy on consumer complaints handling and alternative dispute resolution (ADR). This describes how we will act in our role as the competent authority for ADR entities in the UK aviation sector and contains our approval criteria for ADR entities
We have also published a list of approved ADR providers, which will be updated following the approval of a new body to the scheme.
Important information for airlines and airports
The CAA has produced guidance for airlines which contain details on the obligations to provide information to the consumer.
It is particularly important to note that airline complaint handling procedures must include appropriate mechanisms to ensure that the complainant is informed by the airline of the name and website address of an ADR provider competent to deal with the consumer’s complaint once internal complaint handling in respect of a complaint has been exhausted. This can be an ADR provider approved by the CAA or a competent ADR provider approved by another EU Member State.
The airline will also need to inform the complainant whether or not the airline agrees to participate in the named ADR provider’s procedures and if so, the ADR provider’s name and website address must be available on the airline’s website and sales/service contracts.
Information for ADR providers
The CAA is the competent authority to assess, and if applicable, approve ADR providers in respect of consumer disputes stemming from aviation contacts.
If you are interested in becoming an ADR provider for aviation consumers, please refer to our guidance for organisations applying to be an approved ADR provider.