German court asks ECJ: can a discontinued flight be regarded as delayed pursuant to Reg. 261/2004?

Michael Wukoschitz's picture

Plaintiff had booked a round trip flight from Frankfurt to Antigua. The return flight started on time and had a scheduled stopover in Punta Cana. From there the aircraft started on time as well but due to a technical problem - the landing gear could not be retracted - had to return to Punta Cana airport from where it could only depart again 24 hrs later.

Plaintiff filed a law suit claiming compensation pursuant to Reg. 261/2004. Court of first instance granted the claim. Upon defendant's appeal, the appelate court (LG Frankfurt am Main) referred the following questions to the ECJ

  1. Does the passenger have a claim for compensation pursuant to Article 7 of Reg. 261/2004/EC if the flight is discontinued after having departed on time and if the aircraft returns to the airport of departure before having reached its destination airport and only starts again with a delay that would by itself constitute a claim for compensation?
  2. Can a flight be regarded as discontinued as soon as the transport operation stops after closing the doors? From which point there is no more delayed departure but rather a discontinuation of the flight?

(LG Frankfurt am Main 03.03.2011, 2-24 S 108/10; ECJ case C-151/11)

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