National carrier Air India has won a significant legal battle in a case of a passenger dispute in the UK.
Notably, a bench of the English Court of Appeal has passed an order in favour of the airline.
Initially, a District Judge had passed a judgment against the airline in a dispute centred on the applicability of EU compensation regulations for a single booking, where only one leg of the booking – the only one within EU or UK jurisdiction – was delayed.
In this case, the third leg of the passenger’s flight departed from Heathrow Airport late, resulting in delays in her final arrival at her destination.
The Court of Appeal after a full hearing held in favour of Air India that previous European Court of Justice case law reaffirmed the ‘single-unit’ principle for a multiple-leg journey made under the same booking.
Air India successfully argued that there was no reason why this principle should not be applied to this case, in circumstances where the Claimant’s journey originated from a non-UK or non-EU destination.
“What is significant about this decision is that this is one of the first cases where the Court of Appeal has been asked to determine EU law post-Brexit,” said Daniel Powell of Zaiwalla & Co, Air India’s solicitors.
“The intention of ECJ judges when making their decisions was discussed at the hearing, and the Court of Appeal chose to not interpret these principles differently in the post-Brexit era.”
“Had the Claimant succeeded in their appeal, airlines could have expected myriad further claims against them, with a potentially substantial economic impact being felt across an industry already reeling from the Covid-19 pandemic.”