The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has threatened to seek court orders against three airlines for “breaching consumer law”.
The CAA issued enforcement action against Jet2, Aer Lingus and Wizz Air on Saturday for failure to comply with European regulations on air passengers’ rights, including payment of compensation for delays.
The authority requires the three “make the changes set out by the CAA” or face a court order.
The CAA noted it “also has concerns about the way Ryanair is assessing some passenger claims”.
The regulator said Jet2 and Wizz Air “have failed to satisfy it that they are consistently paying compensation for disruption caused by technical faults”.
This is despite a Court of Appeal judgment involving Jet2 last year (Jet2 v Huzar) which ruled airlines must pay compensation in such cases.
The CAA also noted that: “Jet 2 and Wizz Air are imposing two-year time limits for passengers to take compensation claims to court, despite the Court of Appeal ruling (Dawson v Thomson) that passengers should have up to six years to take a claim to court.”
It further stated: “Jet2 and Aer Lingus have failed to give satisfactory evidence that they proactively provide passengers with information about their rights during disruption, in line with the requirements set out in regulation EC261 [on air passengers’ rights].”
The CAA action follows a six-month review of airline policies on support for passengers during disruption, “including their approaches to paying flight delay compensation and the provision of information about their rights”.
The authority said the review – which included British Airways, easyJet, Emirates, Air France-KLM, Lufthansa, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Monarch, Flybe, Thomson Airways and Thomas Cook – had “resulted in a number of airlines changing their policies”.
CAA chief executive Andrew Haines said: “Airlines are well aware of the support they must provide when there is disruption and passengers have every right to be disappointed that a small number of airlines are not complying with the Court of Appeal rulings and continue to let people down.
“Since the law was clarified, we have been active to ensure airlines are applying consumer law appropriately.
“Our job is not done until all airlines can demonstrate they are providing care, assistance and compensation as required by law.”
Haines added: “While we have no power to secure redress for individual consumers, we are determined to stand up for passengers and are taking this action to safeguard their rights.”
A Wizz Air spokesman said: “The CAA is well aware that Wizz Air is reassessing these cases.”
An Aer Lingus spokesman said: “Our procedures are fully compliant with all the relevant regulations.”
The CAA is due to publish a full report of its review of airline compensation payments and information on air passengers’ rights on Monday (March 23).