Airlines lose court challenge
Airlines including Lufthansa and British Airways lost challenges at the European Union's top court over paying compensation to passengers delayed by more than three hours.
"Where passengers reach their final destination three hours or more after the scheduled arrival time, they may claim fixed compensation from the airline, unless the delay is caused by extraordinary circumstances," the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg said in a ruling today that confirms an earlier, precedent-setting decision by the court.
The ruling on two separate cases also involves EasyJet, TUI Travel and the International Air Transport Association.
It upholds a 2009 decision that airlines have to compensate passengers who reach their final destination that much later because of a flight delay.
Carriers are exempt from compensation in cases of extraordinary circumstances, such as a strike or bad weather conditions.
Lufthansa extended earlier declines to lose as much as 2.6 per cent after the decision, and was trading 2.2 per cent lower at €10.86 as of 3.07pm in Frankfurt.
British Airways, a unit of International Consolidated Airlines Group, said it was aware of the ruling and would continue to comply with the regulations, according to an e- mailed statement.
IAG shares fell 2.3 per cent to 156 pence at 2.02 pm in London.
Mike Ward, a spokesman for TUI Travel, said the company would work for a revision of the underlying legislation so that it strikes the right balance for passengers and airlines.
"We are committed to treating our customers fairly," Mr Ward said in an e-mailed statement.
TUI Travel shares fell 0.8 per cent at 2.07pm in London trading.
EasyJet spokesman Paul Moore said that while the company was "disappointed at the outcome," it welcomed the judgment because it provided "much-needed clarity on this matter," according to an e-mail.
EasyJet lost as much as 1.4 per cent after the ruling, and was down 0.5 per cent at 2.06 pm in London.
The 2009 ruling clarified that under EU law passengers whose flights are delayed have the same rights to compensation as passengers whose fights are cancelled.