Airlines

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UK: Virgin Atlantic looses dispute over flat bed airline seat patent

Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd sought to recover damages exceeding £49,000,000 for the infringement of its flat bed airline seat patent. However, the Technical Board of Appeal ("TBA") of the European Patent Office ("EPO") found that in the form in which the patent was originally granted the relevant claims were invalid because they had been anticipated by prior art and therefore has retrospectively amended the patent so as to remove with effect from the date of grant all the claims said to have been infringed.

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Committee on Transport and Tourism of the European Parliament publishes Draft Report on the Commission's proposal for a new Air Passenger Rights Regulation

On August 26, 2013, the Committee on Transport and Tourism of the European Parliament has published a Draft Report on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights and Regulation (EC) No 2027/97 on air carrier liability in respect of the carriage of passengers and their baggage by air.

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Canada: CTA decides on overbooking - and finds European compensation system unreasonable

On December 12, 2011, Gábor Lukács filed a complaint with the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) alleging that Air Canada’s practice of overselling domestic flights and certain domestic tariff provisions governing denied boarding compensation appearing in Air Canada’s Tariff are unreasonable. He requested the CTA to:

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USA: DOT releases guidance for Internet flight-search tools

According to an article published in "Travel Pulse", the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has released a guidance document for travel agencies that operate Internet flight-search tools on how these agencies should disclose the carriers they do not market in their search results. In particular, DOT will consider it an unfair practice to simply report that “no flight exists that matches” the consumer’s criteria, when in reality the flight does exist, but the agency does not offer it. DOT has provided a 90-day window, starting Aug.

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Canada: Federal Court of Appeal decides on exclusivity of Montreal Convention liabiliy rules

Pursusant to the Official Languages Act, Canadians have the right to communicate with federal institutions in either of the two official languages English and French. Air Canada is subject to this act and therefore must provide services in both official languages.

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German Supreme Court asks ECJ for interpretation of article 12 of Reg. 261/2004

In a recent reference for ECJ preliminary ruling, the German Supreme Court (BGH) has asked for an interpreation of article 12 of the Air Passenger Rights Regulation 261/2004. This article provides that the Regulation shall apply without prejudice to a passenger's rights to further compensation but that the compensation granted under this Regulation may be deducted from such further compensation.

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Austrian Supreme Court: "bad weather" not enough to release air carrier from compensation for cancellation

In a recently published decision, the Austrian Supreme Court has held that although bad weather can be an indication for "extraordinary circumstances" but doesn't itself constitute such circumstances. The carrier has to prove that despite adverse weather conditions it took all reasonable measures to avoid a flight cancellation. Such measures could include re-routing of the flight to another airport close by or postponing the flight to wait for an improvement of weather conditions.

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Italy: OTAs succeed against Ryanair over website access

With decision No. 7825/2013 of June 4, 2013, the Court of Milan has held that Ryanair’s refusal to grant access to its database and booking procedures to an online travel agency was an abuse of its dominant market position. Ryanair's General Conditions for the use of its website interdicted any access for commercial purposes an thus excluded OTAs from intermediation business. The court ruled that Ryanair has to allow OTAs access to its database and booking procedures.

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USA: DOT fines Delta for violating Denied Boarding Rules

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) assessed a civil penalty against Delta Air Lines for violating federal rules protecting passengers who are denied boarding against their will, or “bumped,” on oversold flights.  DOT fined Delta USD 750,000 and ordered the airline to cease and desist from further violations.

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