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Transport / Loganair keen to see change in how flight delay and cancellation compensation is paid

Photo: Ronnie Robertson

LOGANAIR is calling on the UK Government to reform how compensation is paid out for delayed and cancelled domestic flights – saying the current legislation “creates an uneven playing field” versus ferries and rail.

The airline has backed the idea of linking customer compensation to the fare paid for the journey.

It comes after a UK Government consultation on aviation consumer policy reform last year which explored possible changes to compensation arrangements.

But the government’s position was that more consultation was needed.

Under EU legislation retained in the UK an airline has to pay £220 in compensation if a short haul flight is delayed three hours or more due to a fault within the airline’s control, with the figure increasing for longer waits.

If a flight is cancelled people have the right to a full refund or a replacement journey as well as compensation if the replacement delays their arrival by two or more hours.

Loganair said in its recently released annual accounts that it was “disappointed” to note that the UK department for transport (DFT) “declined to progress reforms to the customer compensation regime” for delayed and cancelled domestic flights.

“Current retained EU legislation creates an uneven playing field the versus the ferries and railways which are our competitors on many of the routes we serve,” chairman Peter Simpson said.

“We believe it is no coincidence that many of those ferry and rail competitors are heavily funded by the public purse.

“We call upon the DFT to proceed with its original proposals to link customer compensation to the fare paid for the journey.”

Ferry company Serco NorthLink, which operates from the mainland to Orkney and Shetland and is subsidised by the Scottish Government, says compensation is available if a passenger has a confirmed booking and their sailing is cancelled or delayed due to a technical fault or “certain operational reasons”.

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Compensation is not available where the sailing is affected by weather disruption.

Serco NorthLink said compensation relates to the amount paid for the reserved sailing that has been disrupted.

Compensation payments equate to a percentage of the reservation price.

For train services, compensation levels can vary depending on which company operates the service as well as the type of ticket.

For Scottish company ScotRail, which is now under public ownership, the amount of compensation depends on the cost of the passenger’s ticket.

For example for a delay of between 30 minutes to 59 minutes passengers can claim 50 per cent of the cost of their single ticket or 25 per cent of the cost of their return ticket.

Meanwhile Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL), which operates a number of airports in the north of Scotland including Sumburgh, has introduced a new charge for operators when it comes to flights cancelled for non-weather reasons after passengers have already been processed.

An airline generally needs to pay a passenger load supplement – £24.20 per terminal departing passenger at Sumburgh – for flights but under new charges this may still need to be paid in the event of a cancellation caused by issues under the airline’s control.

The fee is 50 per cent of the supplement for cancellations made within 120 minutes of scheduled departure, rising to 75 per cent for 90 minutes and 100 per cent for 60 minutes.

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