A LANDMARK court ruling in England over compensation for a 27-hour flight delay could open the floodgates for thousands more air passengers to make similar claims.
Lord Justice Elias yesterday upheld a ruling of the Court of Appeal in Manchester, which had ordered Jet2.com to compensate a passenger after his flight from Malaga to Manchester was delayed for more than a day due to a wiring defect.
Ronald Huzar said he was entitled to compensation under EU flight compensation rules after suffering ‘no little inconvenience’.
But the airline claimed the fact the plane had a technical problem meant that it did not have to pay compensation under a section of the same rules that cover "extraordinary circumstances".
Typically, the term refers to delays caused by poor weather or political unrest, but airlines have argued that it also covers technical faults.
Jet2.com said that, in this case, the wiring fault was “unforseeable”, and therefore “extraordinary”, but their argument was rejected and Mr Huzar was yesterday awarded £526 compensation.
In his ruling, Lord Justice Elias said: “In Mr Huzar’s case the cause of the technical problem was simply wear and tear. The Court, quite rightly, took a commonsense approach to this and held that wear and tear is entirely ordinary and therefore not extraordinary."
He said that technical faults could only be considered ‘out of the ordinary’ if they "stem from events which, by their nature or origin, are not inherent in the normal exercise of the activity of the air carrier concerned".
Jet2.com said the judgment was disappointing and could "have a significant impact on the entire airline industry".
It said it would take the case to the Supreme Court.