Aviation Law Watch — English Court clamps down on extraordinary circumstances in passenger claims

The Court of Appeal of England and Wales has recently handed down its judgment in the ongoing litigation between Ronald Huzar and Jet2. In its judgment, the Court of Appeal has held that technical defects arising out of the operation of aircraft cannot be relied upon by airlines as constituting extraordinary circumstances for the purpose of defending EC 261 claims, even if those technical defects could not have been foreseen.

The impact of this latest in a long line of consumer-friendly judgments on EC 261 will be to make it that much harder for airlines to defend claims for compensation arising out of cancelled and delayed flights, even where cancellations and delays have been caused by unexpected flight safety shortcomings. Many commentators have expressed concern that this judgment will open the floodgates for passengers to claim compensation going back years, with some saying that this could cost the industry up to £4bn. Consumer claims organisations, such as EU Claims, are already pushing their services in the press and social media.

Mr Huzar and his family were booked to travel on flight LS0810 from Malaga to Manchester, departing 18:25 and arriving 20:25 on 26 October 2011. The aircraft experienced an unexpected technical problem during its inbound flight to Malaga. The left engine fuel advisory light indicated a possible defect in the fuel shut-off valve…

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