The CAA’s report, ADR in the Aviation Sector – A First Review, highlighted a number of actions that the CAA intended to take forward in year 2018/2019. One of these was to publish complaints data relating to the ADR providers, as well as the CAA’s own Passenger Advice and Complaints Team (PACT). The CAA will publish this data regularly – most likely each quarter – and will refine the data items which are included over time. It is also our intention to also publish further analysis of the data on a regular basis, potentially annually.
Complaints statistics for 2020
The number of passengers dropped dramatically in Q2 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic gained a hold on the aviation sector, causing a reduction of approximately 74 million passengers (-98%) on the previous year (Q2 2019). Consequently this has led to large increases in the complaints per million passengers metric, as we use passenger numbers from the prior quarter to calculate this metric.
The overall number of complaints in Q3 2020 are up slightly on the prior year by 77 (1%). Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many services were cancelled which has led to a shift in the usual trend seen of the majority of complaints relating to delayed flights, now to being due to cancellations.
- Passenger Complaint Data Q1 2020 (CSV document)
- Passenger Complaint Data Q1 2020 (PDF document)
- Passenger Complaint Data Q1 2020 (XLSX document)
- Passenger Complaint Data Q2 2020 (CSV document)
- Passenger Complaint Data Q2 2020 (PDF document)
- Passenger Complaint Data Q2 2020 (XLSX document)
- Passenger Complaint Data Q3 2020 (CSV document)
- Passenger Complaint Data Q3 2020 (PDF document)
- Passenger Complaint Data Q4 2020 (PDF document)
- Passenger Complaint Data Q4 2020 (XLSX document)
Data interpretation notes
- The ADR providers CEDR and Consumed Dispute Resolution Ltd [trading as AviationADR] are approved by the CAA in its role as a Competent Authority under the ADR Regulations (The Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015 (as amended by) The Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Amendment) Regulations 2015).
- The CAA approved ADR providers are also statutory complaint handlers, as designed by the UK government, under EC Regulations 261/2004 (Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights) and 1107/2006 (Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air). PACT is not an approved ADR provider; it is however a statutory complaint handler under EC Regulations 261/2004 and 1107/2006.
- CAA approved ADR providers are required to include in their agreements with airlines/airports that the results of their decisions are binding upon the airline/airport (assuming the consumer agrees to the decision; see the CAA’s full ADR entity approval policy CAP 1324 – Guidance for ADR applicants. As such, monetary awards (such as compensation under EC Regulation 261/2004 for delays / cancellations) must be paid by the airline. PACT has no such agreement with the airlines/airports. Therefore, whilst PACT’s view as regards complaints may well be persuasive for an airline/airport, it has no legal power to enforce individual decisions. As such, for PACT, no record is kept as to whether the airline pays compensation to the consumer, nor, how much.
- Complaints received is the number of complaints received in the quarter. Not all of these complaints progress through the ADR process lead to a decision or settlement. Some of these complaints may not be within the Scheme Rules, and some may be rejected as being ‘out of scope’ (e.g. if the flight is not one which has been either in or out of the UK), or ‘refused’ if the consumer has not provided the airline / airport with sufficient time to reply to their complaint. Complaints may also be withdrawn if, for example, the consumer has gone ‘out of contact’. Therefore, it should be borne in mind that not all complaints received progress through to a decision.
- ADR providers generally have up to 90 days from obtaining a ‘complete complaint file, to complete their individual complaint handling. PACT does not have a legal timeframe within which to handle complaints.
- If a complaint has raised more than one issue, it is classified it under a single ‘primary’ issue to avoid double counting. For example, if a complaint raises an issue under EC Regulation 261/2004 and also a baggage dispute, it would be classified under EC Regulation 261/2004.
- Complaints per million passengers – this is based upon CAA data of the number of passenger departing the UK on flights in the previous quarter to the complaints data. The timeframe for the passenger data is therefore different from the timeframe for the complaints data; this is due to the different timeframes for reporting.
- The average award value is the total monetary amount awarded to passengers whose complaints have either been settled by the airline or decided in favour of the passenger by the ADR provider, divided by the number of complaints that have progressed through the ADR process to a decision or a settlement. This figure can vary due to the differences in the airlines participating in each of the schemes. Some carriers typically fly short haul routes within Europe, which attract lower compensation amounts under EC Regulation 261/2004; whereas others operate a greater proportion of long-haul flights and which attract greater compensation amounts. It should also be borne in mind that the award amounts given above are calculated on a per complaint basis (which could cover more than one passenger) rather than per passenger basis. There is limited discretion which ADR providers can apply to the financial compensation amounts that can be awarded as EC Regulation 261/2004 specifies the rules for calculating the amounts that can be awarded for flight cancellations and long delays (and denied boarding).
- The uphold rate is the proportion of complaints settled by the airline or decided in favour of the passenger by the ADR provider, divided by the number of complaints that have progressed through the ADR process to a decision or a settlement. This figure can vary for a variety of reasons. It could be that the airline is allocating additional resources to handling the complaints before they reach ADR. This would potentially result in lower uphold rate by the ADR schemes as the complaints that reach ADR could be expected to be more complex, whether in relation to the factual situation underlying the complaint or how the relevant legislation is applied in that particular case.