UK High Court refers passengers seeking compensation to European Court of Justice

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The UK High Court is refusing to hear any more cases from passengers seeking compensation from airlines for delayed flights, and has referred the issue of passenger rights back to the European Court of Justice.

The decision means that passengers affected by delays will no longer be able to use the UK courts to force airlines to provide compensation.

A UK Civil Aviation Authority spokeswoman says UK-based passengers seeking compensation for delays from non-UK carriers will still be able to pursue their claims through other European Union member states' legal systems, but until the ECJ reviews the legislation and issues a new ruling no further cases will be heard in the UK.

She adds that the ECJ's November 2009 ruling "still stands" and the CAA "will do everything we can to show our understanding of the regulation" in the hope that UK carriers will "continue to uphold" their compensation obligations until the ECJ issues a fresh decision.

The ECJ last November ruled that airline passengers were entitled to compensation if they were delayed by three hours or more.

EU passenger rights legislation has provoked outrage among airlines, particularly with regard to compensation claims from passengers stranded during April's volcanic ash cloud crisis, which the European Commission has not treated as an exceptional circumstance. Dutch carrier KLM is currently embroiled in a dispute with the EC over its refusal to fully compensate passengers affected by the ash cloud.

It is unclear when the ECJ will issue a new ruling in response to the UK High Court's latest move.

  • Flightglobal's coverage of the Icelandic ash cloud that caused so much chaos