SIA among 5 carriers facing enforcement action in the UK for failing to compensate travellers for delays

Singapore Airlines is facing enforcement action by UK's Civil Aviation Authority for allegedly denying passengers compensation for flight delays.
Singapore Airlines is facing enforcement action by UK's Civil Aviation Authority for allegedly denying passengers compensation for flight delays. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SINGAPORE - Singapore Airlines (SIA) is one of five major carriers facing enforcement action by UK's Civil Aviation Authority for allegedly denying passengers compensation for flight delays.

SIA told The Straits Times that it has been in touch with the authority on the matter.

A spokesman said: "There is a lack of clarity in the law which is currently the subject of ongoing litigation before the Court of Appeal."

The airline will continue to work with the regulator "to resolve our differences", she said.

Under European rules, passengers are legally entitled to compensation if they arrive at the final destination of their journey more than three hours late - unless due to extraordinary circumstances.

These rights apply to any flight departing an airport within the European Union, the regulator said in a statement on its website on Wednesday.

Besides SIA, the other airlines under probe are Emirates, Etihad, Turkish Airlines and American Airlines.

In its statement, the UK regulator said that the airlines have confirmed that they do not pay compensation to passengers who had experienced a delay on the first leg of a flight that caused them to miss a connecting flight and, as a result, to arrive at their final destination over three hours late.

"The airlines' refusal to pay compensation in these instances fails to meet the legal passenger rights requirements for flight disruption," it said.

According to the UK regulator, about 200,000 passengers a year travelling on these airlines could be at risk of not receiving their due compensation.

The Civil Aviation Authority decided to take action after a comprehensive review of airline policies for supporting passengers experiencing disruption.

The review looked at the different policies of the top 31 airlines operating in the UK.

The authority's director of consumers and markets Richard Moriarty, said: "Any disruption to a flight is frustrating for passengers, but delays that cause people to miss connecting flights have a particularly damaging effect on people's travel plans.

"That's why there are clear laws in place to make sure passengers that experience this type of disruption are looked after by their airline and compensated when the disruption was in the airline's control."

"Airlines' first responsibility should be looking after their passengers, not finding ways in which they can prevent passengers upholding their rights. So it's disappointing to see a small number of airlines continuing to let a number of their passengers down by refusing to pay them the compensation they are entitled to," he added.