Emirates airline counters UK watchdog’s claims that it isn’t compensating passengers for disruptions

Emirates airline hits back at UK aviation watchdog over claims it is avoiding paying passenger compensation for delays

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DUBAI // Emirates airline has hit back at claims by the UK Civil Aviation Authority it has been denying compensation payouts to passengers who have suffered delays and missed connecting flights.

The airline is one of five international operators facing scrutiny and the possibility of unlimited fines in the UK following claims of a breach of EU consumer law.

Etihad and Emirates are facing further investigation, along with American Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Turkish Airlines following a review of policy.

Etihad said the issue of non-EU airlines liability under EC261 for delays caused by a missed connecting flight outside of the EU was subject to an appeal case.

“As one of the world’s largest airlines, we comply with all legal requirements and regulations as set by the relevant authorities,” said an Emirates spokesman.

“The way in which the CAA has communicated this issue is both misleading and unprofessional. As the CAA is well aware, the recent EU guidelines on (rule) EC261 are not intended to amend the law.

“The issue of EC261’s application to our flights from the UK involving a stopover in Dubai is currently pending before the court of appeal. We will rigorously defend our position, and challenge the blanket application of EC 261 to every situation, without consideration of context or the safety of our passengers.

“Emirates, like any responsible airline, puts the safety of our passengers first and to be penalised for this is absurd.”

According to CAA data, Emirates was the most complained-about airline for the non-payment of compensation for missed connection flights.

The airline said it did everything possible to ensure passenger disruption is minimised, and customers are looked after when flight delays and cancellations occur.

Eithad described the CAA’s decision to blame the airline in public as “unprofessional and unacceptable”.

nwebster@thenational.ae