The Court of Appeal judgment on the Huzar V Jet2.com case was handed down on Wednesday, throwing out the airline’s appeal and ruling that a technical problem does not constitute an extraordinary circumstance and therefore does not exempt airlines from paying compensation under EU Regulation 261/2004 when it results in a delay of over three hours.
There has been widespread coverage of the case in the mainstream media, with the judgment raising concerns amongst consumers and commentators alike regarding the impact of the ruling on ticket prices. Many have expressed their fears that airlines will be forced to raise ticket prices as a result of paying out for flight delay compensation claims. Some have even gone so far as to say this could be the end of budget air travel.
Is there any evidence to substantiate these claims? What will the Huzar judgment mean for flight ticket prices?
A report published by the European Commission in May 2014 titled ‘Complaint handling and enforcement by Member States of the Air Passenger Rights Regulations’ found that “…the EU rules on passenger rights … corresponds approximately to between €1 and €3 per one-way ticket.”
The report goes on to say “the EU rules on passenger rights represent an average cost of between 0.6% and 1.8% of the airlines’ turnover (depending on the proportion of entitled passengers that claim compensation).”
David Bott, Senior Partner at Bott and Co said: “We are keen to provide passengers with clear and factual information based on current, relevant case law and independent reports.
“Given the comparatively small number of flights that are eligible for EU261, as per the European Commission report findings, even if every eligible passenger claimed, it would only add a few pounds to ticket prices. We think that is a small price to pay for peace of mind should your flight be delayed by more than three hours.”
John Hyde from The Law Gazette has written an interesting article on the ruling here.