Tour operator launches ‘legal action’ over canceled Paris flights

A tour operator who canceled flights to the Champions League final has claimed it will take legal action against the airline and broker.

WorldChoice Sports have apologized to Liverpool FC fans who were stranded at Liverpool John Lennon Airport on Saturday May 28, but added that it could have happened to any operator blaming their broker and company Aerial. A spokesman for the Widnes-based tour operator told ECHO the flights were canceled because airline Air Caraïbes failed to obtain the necessary third country operator permits from the Civil Aviation Authority .

The plane of the French airline had to make two rotations to take the supporters to the final. But the WorldChoice Sports spokesperson added that broker Air Charter Services only informed them of the lack of permits less than 24 hours before the day of the final.

READ MORE: Liverpool fans sent refund update after Champions League final flights canceled

Permits would be a requirement for European carriers since Brexit. The owner of WorldChoice Sports told ECHO: “It was a very distressing situation for me, my staff and, of course, in due course for the customers.”

WorldChoice Sports said it found alternative flights but was unable to accommodate all fans, leaving around 80 people stranded at the airport. ECHO has been informed that all refunds have now been processed.

But WorldChoice Sports added that it would direct customers to the broker and the airline for any claims they may have regarding compensation. The tour operator said it would also take legal action against Air Charter Services and Air Caraïbes.

A spokesperson for Air Charter Services told ECHO it had received no legal action, but added: “We appreciate WorldChoice Sports taking care of what we are told is 80 disgruntled passengers who were unable to board the replacement aircraft and we are in contact with both WorldChoice Sports and the airline and will do everything in our power to help resolve the situation for everyone involved. ”

Regarding the lack of permits, the spokesperson added: “As far as we were told, Air Caraïbes applied for permits but did not receive them from the UK CAA in time to carry out the charter to Paris for WorldChoice Sports as scheduled.. Permits are requested by the airline and unfortunately, although we can see when permits are granted and published, it is the responsibility of the airline to advise us of relevant information regarding the status of active requests, as they are in contact with the competent civil aviation authorities directly.

“We expect airlines to inform us if they have reason to believe that all relevant permits will not be granted in time for a contracted flight and as such will not be able to operate the flight, so that the charter customer can be informed. In this case, shortly before the departure date, Air Caraïbes communicated the fact that it was not able to carry out the contractual flight because it had just been informed that clearances would not be received within the required timeframe as expected, so an alternative aircraft with the appropriate clearances in place was purchased at the last minute and operated in Paris, carrying around 400 of the 480 passengers.

“Correspondence between the airline and the UK CAA has not been shared with us as we are not involved in arranging permits so we cannot confirm more about the application other than what was told to us by Air Caribbean.”

Air Caraïbes has also been contacted by ECHO for a comment.