Big win for Air India in British court

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In this case, Air India argued that there was no reason why this principle could not be applied, since the Claimant’s trip originated outside of the UK/EU…reports Asian Lite News.

Following a District Judge’s decision against Air India, a bench of the English Court of Appeal, headed by Master of the Rolls Sir Geoffrey Voss has found in favour with Air India in a contested dispute with a passenger. With its victory, Air India has eliminated a serious threat to the international airline industry, which is already struggling due to Covid-19. The English Courts are also asked to determine EU law for the first time after Brexit.

EU compensation regulations were disputed in this case as only one leg of the booking – the only one governed by EU/UK laws – had been delayed. As a result, the passenger’s flight from Heathrow departed late, leading to delay in her final arrival at her destination.

The Court of Appeal ruled in favour of Air India after a full hearing, stating that prior European Court of Justice case law held that a multiple-leg journey can be considered a single unit when made under the same booking.

In this case, Air India argued that there was no reason why this principle could not be applied, since the Claimant’s trip originated outside of the UK/EU. Passengers are entitled to protection under the law, however, that doesn’t automatically mean they should be compensated under all circumstances.

There is no reason to undermine the principle of passenger protection by undermining Article 3(1) (a) of the EU Regulation since it is a territorial gateway for compensation. Air India’s solicitor, Daniel Powell of Zaiwalla & Co, commented: “This is one of the first cases where the Court of Appeal was asked to determine EU law post-Brexit.”

“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. This is despite an Attorney General commentary being released in October, which stated in its discussion that just because a passenger’s journey originated from a non-EU/UK destination, this does not necessarily mean that they are not entitled to compensation.”

“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.”

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