European Court of Justice

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CJEU: a flight during which an unscheduled stopover took place cannot be regarded as cancelled

On Oct. 5, 2016 the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) provided another clarification regarding the interpretation of Reg. (EC) No. 261/2004. The case involved an Bulgarian Air Charter flight from Burgas (Bulgaria) to Dresden (Germany). The flight departed as scheduled but made an unscheduled stopover in Prague which caused a delay in arrvial at Dresden of  2 hours and 20 minutes.

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CJEU Advocate General: bird strikes do not constitute 'extraordinary circumstances'

In an opinion delivered on July 28, 2016, CJEU Advocate General Bot has concluded that bird strikes do not fall within the extraordinary circumstances defence currently available to air carriers according to Article 5 para 3 of Reg. (EC) 261/2004. In the Advocate General's opinion, such incidents are inherent in the normal exercise of the activity of an air carrier and therefore not 'extraordinary'. Although an opinion of an Advocate Genrral is not binding to the Court but only advisory in nature, the judges in most cases follow the recommedations expressed therein.

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CJEU clarifies remdies for downgrading in air travel

In a recently published judgement, the European Court of Justice has clarfied the rules applying to downgrading of air passagners according to Reg. (EC) No 261/2004.

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EU: Commission refers Germany to Court over VAT rules for travel agents

The European Commission has decided to refer Germany to the Court of Justice of the European Union for its failure to properly apply the special value added tax (VAT) scheme for travel agents, as provided for in the VAT Directive (Council Directive 2006/112/EC). The scheme aims to simplify and amend the VAT rules applicable to travel agencies selling travel packages within the EU. It is obligatory for all travel agents to apply the scheme, provided the conditions required in the Directive are met.

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CJEU decides on admissiblity of capping discounts in online travel bookings

Eturas is the holder of exclusive rights to, and administrator of, the E-TURAS system, a common online travel booking system in Lithuania. It allows travel agencies which have acquired by contract an operating licence from Eturas to offer travel bookings for sale on their websites, through a uniform presentation method determined by Eturas.

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CJEU: employers can claim for damages under Montreal for their empolyees' flight delays

Upon request of the Lietuvos Aukščiausiasis Teismas (Supreme Court of Lithuania) in proceedings between Air Baltic Corporation AS (‘Air Baltic’) and Lietuvos Respublikos specialiųjų tyrimų tarnyba (Special Investigation Service of the Republic of Lithuania - ‘the Investigation Service’), the Court of Justice of the European Union has provided an interpretation of the Montreal Convention.

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CJEU Advocate General: National Enforcement Body must not take enforcement measures to pursue claims of individual air passengers

Upon reference for preliminary ruling lodged by the Dutch Raad van State (State Council), the Advocate General of the CJEU has delivered an opinion according to which Article 16 of the Air Passenger Rights Regulation 261/2004 only entrusts the National Enforcement Bodies (NEBs) with the task to secure general compliance with the Regulation but not to pursue individual claims. Individual claims should rather be pursued before the courts. A concurrent competence of courts and national Enforcment Bodies could lead to different interpretations of the Regulation and cause legal uncertainty.

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CJEU: computerised booking systems must, from the outset, indicate the final price of each flight ticket

The German Federal Union of Consumer Organisations and Associations was challenging before the German courts the way in which air fares were presented in Air Berlin’s computerised booking system, as configured in November 2008: Once the date and airports of departure and arrival had been selected, the booking system displayed a table of possible connections. The final price per person, however, was indicated only for the connection pre-selected by Air Berlin or clicked on by the customer, and not for every connection shown.

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CJEU: passport cancelled - visa lives on

On 8 October 2010, an Indian citizen travelled from Moscow to Riga with Air Baltic. At the border control at Riga airport, he presented a valid Indian passport without a visa and a cancelled Indian passport to which a valid uniform visa issued by Italy was affixed. The Indian citizen was refused entry into Latvia on the ground that he did not have a valid visa. Moreover, the Latvian authorities imposed a fine of LVL 2 000 (approximately €2 850) on Air Baltic for transporting to Latvia a person without the travel documents necessary to cross the border.

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CJEU provides another clarification of the Air Passenger Rights Regulation (EC) 216/2004

In its judgement of today, the Court of the European Union (CJEU) held that the ‘arrival time’, which is used to determine the length of the delay to which passengers on a flight have been subject, corresponds to the time at which at least one of the doors of the aircraft is opened, the assumption being that, at that moment, the passengers are permitted to leave the aircraft.

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