In the ruling, which was issued on Wednesday, the court rejected an appeal lodged by the company against the 20 May verdict of the Court of Competition, Regulation and Supervision, the airline was found to have committed an administrative offence under “article 3(c) of Decree 209/2005 of 29 November” – which specifies the size of the fine – as stated on the official website of the National Civil Aviation Authority.

According to the Lisbon appeal court, it was not proven that the cancellation of the flight in question resulted from "adverse atmospheric conditions” that prevented it taking place, as alleged by easyJet.

The court also considers that the amount stipulated for the fine – which easyJet had alleged was "disproportionate" – was in fact justified given "the size of the company" and "the degree of unlawfulness [in respect of] the duties to customers/consumers violated".

In the case in question, it noted in its ruling, the amount is very close to the minimum specified in the law.

The case arose after easyJet rejected a compensation claim from a passenger for €250 euros following the cancellation of a flight from Lisbon to Madrid, citing "an extraordinary circumstance embodied in adverse atmospheric conditions".

However, the appeal court took the view that "there was no evidence that" some adverse atmospheric condition in Madrid had prevented the flight taking place, "noting that the cancellation was due" to causes affecting the preceding flight "and to which easyJet" responded with operational and technical decisions, opting to cancel the next flight, on which the passenger was to have travelled.

It was, it added, proven that bad weather conditions in Nantes forced the Lisbon-Nantes flight "to diverge and land at La Rochelle Airport, which determined the immediate unavailability of the G-EZFW aircraft in Nantes to perform the Nantes-Lisbon flight and the following flights and changes in the schedule of the crew accompanying the aircraft."

According to the court, easyJet "only has itself to blame" for the situation.

"We cannot forget that we are in the field of a sensitive and high-risk activity such as the safety of civil aviation, in its various dimensions, which justifies the establishment of fines of significant sums, much more so given that companies operating in this area are highly specialised and have a specific knowledge about the activity they perform, which requires them to act in accordance with the rules and procedures," the court ruling argues, citing a previous judgment.

Secondly, it adds, "to impose fines in this area of activity at the [same] level as low-risk activities it would boost insecurity and create weaknesses in the regulation of the activity.”