Jet2 v Huzar – Extraordinary Circumstance Defence just got more Extraordinary!
Flight Delay Claims just took an interesting twist with the latest judgment in Huzar being handed down by the Court of Appeal this morning. Mr Ronald Huzar was due to travel on Jet2 flight LS0810 from Malaga to Manchester on 26 October 2011. However, due to a potential defect in the fuel shut off valve and wiring this was not possible. An engineer was flown out from their hangar at Leeds Bradford Airport and a different plane was diverted from Glasgow to collect returning passengers from Malaga, arriving in Manchester at 23.28 on 27 October 2011, 27 hours late.
Mr Huzar made a Claim for compensation under Article 7(1)(b) of EC Regulation 261/2004. (‘Regulation 261’). This provides that passengers must be compensated for in specified amounts unless the carrier, Jet2, can show the flight was subject to a delay due to ‘extraordinary circumstances’ under Article 5(3).
‘Extraordinary Circumstances’ have not been defined in Regulation 261 but case law of the European Courts have already dealt with this matter and confirmed in Wallentin-Hermann v Alitalia  that an engine defect picked up in routine maintenance, or on account of failure to carry out such maintenance will not amount to a defence.
It would appear that going forward Extraordinary Circumstance must be a problem not “inherent in the normal exercise of the activity of the air carrier”
Already industry insiders are expressing concerns for entire fleets.
Joanna Kolatsis, speaking at the Abta travel law seminar last month said: “It is an open door on compensation if Jet2 loses its appeal.”
If you have been affected by a delayed flight you may be entitled to claim compensation, visit our delayed flight compensation page for further details.