New ‘Aviation Ombudsman’ will be good news for passengers

Added 05/05/2015

Airport departure lounge

The Civil Aviation Authority has announced plans to create a new aviation ombudsman to help passengers resolve disputes with airlines. 

Passengers involved in disputes with airlines will soon be able to escalate their case to a fully independent ombudsman who has the power to make airlines pay compensation. 

New standards will also ensure that complaints are dealt with quickly and fairly.

The new service will bring the aviation industry into line with other sectors which already have established ombudsman services, such as financial services, energy and telecommunications.

The ‘ombudsman’ style scheme is good news for airline passengers as their findings will be binding on airlines. This is not the case with the current CAA complaints service which has seen some airlines refusing to pay compensation despite a CAA ruling, forcing customers to take court action in order to receive the compensation due to them.
Iain Osborne, Group Director of Regulatory Policy at the CAA, said:

“We are moving forward with these proposals to make sure consumers get the very best level of support when in dispute with an airline.

“It can’t be right that many air passengers have to go to court to get a concrete resolution to their complaint - especially when they can easily go to an independent ombudsman with an unresolved telecoms, energy or financial services problem. We are not prepared to let that situation continue and moving towards an ombudsman-style approach for aviation will make sure air passengers benefit from the quick, fair and certain approach to dispute resolution that has long been the norm in other major consumer markets.”

The CAA hope to get major UK airlines committed to progressing with the new scheme by September 2015, so we shouldn’t be long before we see some real improvements for airline passengers trying to resolve a dispute with their airline.