page contents Supreme Court Refuses to Grant Emirates Airlines Permission to Appeal in Landmark Flight Delay Case
  • Kumarlo Menns

Supreme Court Refuses to Grant Emirates Airlines Permission to Appeal in Landmark Flight Delay Case

Updated: Jul 19, 2018



Passengers are in line to receive compensation of up to €600 from Emirates for flight delays, after the Supreme Court refused to grant the airline permission to appeal against an earlier ruling on missed connections.

The ruling concerns the interpretation of EC Regulation 261/2004 which obliges airlines to pay passengers compensation where, amongst other things, their flights are delayed. In this case Emirates and several other airlines had argued that because the onward flight began outside the European Union, EU rules did not apply. In October 2017, the Appeal Court rejected Emirates’ appeal on a test case. Permission to appeal that Decision was then sought from the Supreme Court.

In its decision on 16th March 2018, the Supreme Court stated that Emirates' appeal did not raise an arguable point of law, because the Court of Justice of the European Union had already given a clear answer.

The Civil Aviation Authority had commenced enforcement action against five airlines on this point, including Emirates, in Spring 2017, for failing to compensate passengers that had suffered delay as a result of a missed connection outside the EU. Four of the airlines had amended their policies and moved into compliance following the CAA's enforcement action, however Emirates sought leave to appeal to the Supreme Court, which has now been refused.

The Civil Aviation Authority has subsequently committed to progressing its enforcement action against Emirates to ensure that it complies with the law, requiring them to amend their policies and practices and to pay claims it had incorrectly refused previously.

The CAA has urged Emirates to commit to the Alternative Dispute Resolution scheme which 35 airlines have already signed up to. The aim of the ADR scheme is to avoid such litigation and produce a binding decision where a dispute arises.

It remains to be seen whether Emirates will follow suit.

ENDS

Notes for editors

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