British Airways pensioner wins judgement in default against former employer

The Small Claims Court ruled in favour of a pensioner in the Airways Pension Scheme (APS) against British Airways (BA) to awarding damages to the pensioner after the scheme downgraded inflation protection.

The default judgement was made after the airline failed to issue a defence against the pensioner.

Around 50 pensioners have filed cases with the court seeking compensation after the APS changed its inflation protection from the retail prices index (RPI) to the consumer (CPI) in 2011.

BA changed the inflation protection the scheme provided when all civil service pensions moved to the CPI from RPI. British Airways said this was appropriate given the APS was set up before the airline’s privatisation.

The pensioners’ case is that the move to CPI backtracks on an agreement made in 1984 when pensioners refused the chance to move to the New Airways Pension Scheme (NAPS), in return for RPI protection.

So now, after BA failed to submit a defence or secure an extension on the 4 November deadline, the Court issued a default claim to Ian Fullalove, one of the first pensioners to make a claim.

The Court ordered BA to pay Fullalove a sum of £1,200 to cover losses resulting from the switch to CPI increases from 2011 to date.

The airline had sent a request to Fullalove and other claimants via its lawyers seeking for a 28-day extension to the deadline.

In its letter, the law firm said airline required more time to create its defence.

However, the Airline only gave a 36-hour deadline to reply and reportedly said if a response to the request was not received in this time scale, BA would seek an extension from the court directly, passing on all costs of this request to the pensioners, which totalled £1,160.

The Telegraph reports that BA is now applying to have Captain Fullerlove’s claim set aside, and that BA has said it “will defend that claim alongside all other claims”.

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