Aer Lingus seeks to recover Storm Ophelia costs
UPS, Sky Handling Partner and DAA are named defendants to the legal case
Aer Lingus says an Airbus A320 aircraft was damaged at Dublin Airport on October 16th, 2017, “when an unsecured unit load device container . . . struck one of the engines on the aircraft”. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA
Aer Lingus has gone to court seeking to recover costs incurred in repairing an engine that was damaged during Storm Ophelia in 2017.
The airline, owned by International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG), said an Airbus A320 aircraft was damaged at Dublin Airport on October 16th, 2017, “when an unsecured unit load device container . . . struck one of the engines on the aircraft”.
Storm Ophelia was among the worst weather events to hit the Republic in the recent past, causing three deaths and extensive property damage. It was estimated at the time that the cost to insurers would be about €111 million.
At Dublin Airport, more than 25 per cent of flights to and from the facility were cancelled, throwing the plans of thousands of travellers into disarray.
As a result of the damage, “Aer Lingus is seeking to recover the costs incurred in repairing the damaged engine”, a spokeswoman said. She added that the container was owned by United Parcel Service (UPS) but in the care and control of Sky Handling Partner Limited, UPS’s ground handling agent.
UPS and Sky Handling Partner are named defendants in the case alongside airport operator Dublin Airport Authority.
A DAA spokesman said the company “did not comment on matters that were before the courts”.
Sky Handling Partner provides airport ground-handling services for a plethora of customers including Air France, Lufthansa and UPS. It ignored requests for comment on the case.
Meanwhile, UPS, in a statement, said: “We can confirm that legal action has been brought against UPS by Aer Lingus related to an incident at Dublin Airport in October 2017. Please understand that, as this matter is before the courts, we cannot comment further at this time.”
The case was last before the High Court in March when an order was granted to extend the time for the case. Aer Lingus is represented by Dillon Eustace, UPS is represented by LK Shields, Sky Handling Partner is represented by Johnsons and DAA is represented by Gore and Grimes.
Separately, Aer Lingus recently launched a new short-haul premium service to its customers called AerSpace. The service includes “private overhead storage, complimentary refreshments, lounge access, fast-track security, priority boarding and free changes and refunds”. The airline will also leave the middle seat free for customers who book an AerSpace seat.
The move appears to be one designed to improve its business-class custom, as these travellers are automatically provided with an AerSpace seat subject to availability.
The new class will start on September 1st with prices from €129 each way. It will be available on several routes including from Dublin to Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Munich, Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels, Barcelona and Frankfurt. Passengers flying to Heathrow from Cork, Shannon and Belfast can avail of the service, as can passengers travelling to Gatwick from Knock.