Airline pays boy €2,500 after flight scare
A boy was given a goodwill payment of €2,500 by an airline yesterday after a court heard damages could not be awarded for psychological suffering endured when an aircraft made a sudden emergency landing.
The Circuit Civil Court heard under the Warsaw Convention a passenger could not base a claim for compensation purely on psychological injury.
Dylan Kavanagh, then aged four, was on a plane which suddenly lost cabin pressure, plummeted 25,000 feet and lost the power of an engine before being diverted for an emergency landing at Gatwick airport.
But barrister Barney Quirke told Circuit Court President, Mr Justice Matthew Deery, that although Dylan had suffered psychologically he was not entitled to compensation because there was no physical manifestation of the injury.
He said Dylan, now aged 14, of Cloiginn Road, Ballyfermot, Dublin, had been on a holiday flight with his mum, Linda, in May 2000 from Dublin to Faro in Portugal when the incident occurred. Mr Quirke said Dylan had been extremely distressed.
When the ordeal in the cabin was over, the Air 2000 flight had been diverted to Gatwick airport where there was then an engine failure followed by an emergency landing causing further distress and trauma.
The Kavanagh family had returned from Gatwick by land and sea via Holyhead. Mr Quirke said Air 2000 had maintained a defence under the Convention and the Air Navigation and Transport Acts on the grounds Dylan had suffered purely psychological injuries.
Mr Quirke said the UK-based airline, and travel agents, Falcon Leisure Group (Overseas) Ltd, Pearse Street, Dublin, had offered Dylan a without prejudice payment of €2,500. He felt obliged to recommend the court's approval of the offer.
Judge Deery agreed and approved the offer.