25 June 2014 at 07.56 GMT
Air fares will rise as a result of the latest court rulings on payouts to passengers for delays, with charter prices likely to increase by more than scheduled services.
One senior industry figure suggested fares could rise by as much as £5.
The Court of Appeal ruled last week in favour of a claim against Thomson Airways by passenger James Dawson, who sought compensation for a delay on a flight almost six years earlier.
A county court had awarded Dawson £975. Thomson appealed, arguing the Montreal Convention – the international agreement covering carriers’ liability for injuries and lost baggage – imposes a two-year limit on claims.
The ruling was the second on passenger rights and EC Regulation 261 this month.
The Court of Appeal had earlier judged against Jet2.com, ruling that a technical fault that caused a delay could not be classed as an “extraordinary circumstance”.
Lawyer Joanna Kolatsis of Hill Dickinson warned: “It is inevitable air fares will rise as the costs of handling these claims increase.
“There is simply no other way for airlines to recover the costs. Ryanair implemented a Regulation 261 levy on tickets and, while unpopular at first, it has gathered growing sympathy among airlines.”
Almost 1% of UK flights are delayed by more than three hours and fall within Regulation 261. A senior industry source said:
“Charter delays of more than three hours are more than double the rate of scheduled carriers’ and a significant proportion are technical. If everybody made a claim it would add £5-plus per passenger.”
A CAA spokesman said: “It’s difficult to estimate what this might cost passengers. It’s up to each airline.”
Sourced from Travel Weekly