Fast-growing leisure airline Jet2.com has responded to criticism from the CAA over its failure to join a dispute handling service saying it is not in its or its customer interests to join.

In a lengthy statement posted on its website, the carrier says it has assessed the CAA ADR service that handled deadlocked complaints and found it to be “not a good process”.

At the end of December the CAA issued an update on ADR praising its work but saying it was “extremely disappointing” that Jet.com remained the only one of the biggest 10 airlines not signed up to it.

Jet2.com did not respond immediately but posted its justification online yesterday. In it the carrier says it is wrong that it was criticised for not joining a scheme that is entirely voluntary.

It says it has investigated the pros and cons of the CAA’s ADR including having met CEDR, the company that provides the adjudication service, on more than one occasion.

The Jet2.com statement said:

“It was only after these evaluations that we decided that ADR is not in our customer’s interests or the interests of Jet2.com.

“We are not against ADR as such – Jet2holidays is a member of the Abta’s very effective ADR scheme and is satisfied with the way in which that operates.

“But having carefully looked at ADR for passenger flight disputes, many of which involve complex factual, technical, operational issues and involved legal interpretation of EU regulations and decisions of the European Court of Justice, we do not think it is appropriate.”

Jet2.com goes on to say that other airline using ADR may not have carried out such a careful evaluation and so may not have understood the problems of ADR before signing up.

The statement adds “Jet2.com’s customers are able to raise complaints and claims with us and can expect a prompt response” pointing to the “industry leading” speed with which it pays out for flight delay compensation.

The airline said its analysis shows that ADR is not a good process for resolving disputed claims for EC261 delay compensation, which makes up around 90% of the claims which other airlines’ customers refer to ADR.

“This is in part because such claims involve the assessment of technical, operational and factual issues, as well as the interpretation of law, regulations and conventions, which are better suited to the expertise of the courts which can apply legal precedents set right across the EU.

“The ADR adjudicators who deal with the claims are not judges and sometimes are not even lawyers; they are allocated only a limited time in which to review the facts and issues arising from a claim; and are not best placed to weigh evidence and to interpret the law.

“Nor are we satisfied that the CAA oversees the ADR providers adequately to ensure consistent and fair results for customers and for airlines.”

And Jet2.com added: “We are also concerned that the minimal fee for starting ADR encourages complaints which are not valid.

“An airline is then put to great cost dealing with the ADR claim. Worse still, a customer can lose the ADR but still go to the county court and claim again on a claim which has already been shown to be unmeritorious, putting the airline to yet further expense.

“We will keep ADR under review, but as matters stand we do not think it would serve our customers’ interests or the interests of Jet2.com.”