The Supreme Court has refused the airline leave to appeal in a long-running case that involved four other carriers seeking to avoid compensation for passengers who miss connecting flights.
The Supreme Court stated that Emirates did not raise an arguable point of law, because the Court of Justice of the European Union had already given a clear answer in spring 2017. The other four carriers – Etihad, American Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Turkish Airlines - began compensating passengers, but Emirates challenged the verdict again.
The CAA said it would now progress with enforcement action against Emirates to ensure that it complies with the law, requiring it to amend policies and practices and to pay claims it had incorrectly refused previously.
CAA chief executive Andrew Haines 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.”
He added that 35 airlines have already committed to ADR, covering almost 80% 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,” he said.
An Emirates spokesperson said: “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.”