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Aviation

Technical problems at the terminal constitutes an extraordinary circumstance

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Legal news
calendar 18 January 2019
globus Denmark

The German Federal Court has recently ruled that technical problems at the airport terminal can constitute an extraordinary circumstance, thereby ruling that five passengers were not entitled to compensation from the carrier.

According to EC Regulation 261/2004 on compensation and assistance to passengers, airline passengers are entitled to compensation up to 600 EUR from the carrier in case of cancellations and delays over three hours.

However, carriers are not obliged to compensate the passenger if the cancellation or delay is due to extraordinary circumstances. Even though EC Regulation 261/2004 is nearly 15 years old, it is still unclear what exactly constitutes an extraordinary circumstance.

The German Federal Court has with a new ruling brought us one step closer to understanding the term. The court has passed a ruling in a case, where five passengers claimed 600 EUR in compensation for a 19-hour delay that was caused by a technical disruption. The court ruled that the carrier was not obliged to pay compensation, because it found that unforeseeable technical problems constitute an extraordinary circumstance.

The court further ruled, that the monitoring, maintenance and repair of technical facilities do not fall within the carrier’s responsibility and that carriers are not obliged to provide its own specialists to maintain computer systems provided by the airport.

IUNO’s opinion

The ruling helps to gain a better understanding of the carrier’s duties to take reasonable measure and of what constitutes an extraordinary circumstance. IUNO’s opinion is that it is still unclear what constitutes an extraordinary circumstance and that there is a need for a clarification from EU on the matter.

IUNO will, amongst other things, discuss the ruling at our seminar January 22, 2019. You can sign up for the seminar here.

According to EC Regulation 261/2004 on compensation and assistance to passengers, airline passengers are entitled to compensation up to 600 EUR from the carrier in case of cancellations and delays over three hours.

However, carriers are not obliged to compensate the passenger if the cancellation or delay is due to extraordinary circumstances. Even though EC Regulation 261/2004 is nearly 15 years old, it is still unclear what exactly constitutes an extraordinary circumstance.

The German Federal Court has with a new ruling brought us one step closer to understanding the term. The court has passed a ruling in a case, where five passengers claimed 600 EUR in compensation for a 19-hour delay that was caused by a technical disruption. The court ruled that the carrier was not obliged to pay compensation, because it found that unforeseeable technical problems constitute an extraordinary circumstance.

The court further ruled, that the monitoring, maintenance and repair of technical facilities do not fall within the carrier’s responsibility and that carriers are not obliged to provide its own specialists to maintain computer systems provided by the airport.

IUNO’s opinion

The ruling helps to gain a better understanding of the carrier’s duties to take reasonable measure and of what constitutes an extraordinary circumstance. IUNO’s opinion is that it is still unclear what constitutes an extraordinary circumstance and that there is a need for a clarification from EU on the matter.

IUNO will, amongst other things, discuss the ruling at our seminar January 22, 2019. You can sign up for the seminar here.

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Aurora Braut Bache

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