The Civil Aviation Authority has welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision to deny Emirates permission to appeal against a ruling relating to delay compensation due as a result of missed flight connections.

The case stems from the Gulf carrier’s interpretation of EC 261/2004, where compensation is due on delays of over three hours, for flights originating in the EU.

In 2017 the CAA commenced enforcement  action against Emirates and four other airlines for failing to compensate passengers where the delay had been due to a missed connection occurring at a non-EU airport.

And last year a Which? Report revealed that Emirates had refused to pay compensation in 74 per cent of cases where they were told to do so by the CAA, with the refusal stemming from the carrier “not accepting the CAA’s interpretation of the law with regard to compensating passengers who experience a delay on the first leg of a flight that caused them to miss a connecting flight in a non EU country and, as a result, to arrive at their final destination over three hours late”.

Following a Court of Appeal decision against Emirates, the airline had sought permission to appeal to the Supreme Court, but this has been denied, with the Supreme Court stating that “Emirates’ appeal did not raise an arguable point of law, because the Court of Justice of the European Union had already given a clear answer”.

The CAA said that it would now “progress its enforcement action against Emirates to ensure that it complies with the law, requiring them to amend their policies and practices and to pay claims it had incorrectly refused previously”.

In response Emirates has provided Business Traveller with the following statement:

“We are very disappointed by the Supreme Court’s ruling denying us leave to appeal against the earlier judgement of the High Court in relation to the application of Regulation EC261 to flights of non-Community carriers originating outside of the EU .

“As one of the world’s largest airlines, we always comply with all legal requirements and based on the judgement, we’ll advise customers of our approach in due course.”

Commenting on the news Andrew Haines, CEO at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said:

“Emirates priority should be looking after its passengers, not finding ways in which they can prevent passengers accessing their rights. They have failed in their attempts to overturn the Court of Appeal Judgement, which now means that millions of pounds worth of compensation is due to its customers. It is time for Emirates to pay what is owed.

“These types of court cases can be avoided when airlines commit to the Alternative Dispute Resolution scheme, to ensure a legally binding resolution to any disputed complaints about delays, cancellations and baggage.

“35 airlines have already committed to ADR covering almost 80 per cent of UK passenger journeys. This case highlights why it is so important for Emirates and the other remaining airlines, to follow suit in the interests of their passengers.”,