CJEU decides on forum in air passenger rigths cases

In Rehder v Ari Baltic (C-204/08) the Court of Justice of the Europena Union had decided that in the case of air transport of passengers from one Member State to another Member State, carried out on the basis of a contract with only one airline, which is the operating carrier, the court having jurisdiction to deal with a claim for compensation founded on that transport contract and Reg. (EC) No. 261/2004 was that, at the applicant’s choice, which had territorial jurisdiction over the place of departure or place of arrival of the aircraft because each of these places could be considered as a place of performance of the service pursuant to the Brussels I Regulation.This created doubts on whether the same forum could be applied if there was no contractual relation between the passenger and the operating carrier, in paritcular in cases where in the course of a multi segment flight because of a delay or cancellation of the first flight the passenger missed his connecting flight and suffered from a delayed arrival at his final destination while the carrier which operated the first flight was different from the contractual carrier.In his judgement of March 7, 2018 in joint cases C‑274/16, C‑447/16 and C‑448/16 the Court now has clarified thatthe concept of ‘matters relating to a contract’ according to the Brussels I Regulation covers a claim brought by air passengers for compensation under Regulation (EC) No261/2004 against an operating air carrier with which the passenger concerned does not have contractual relations; andin the case of a connecting flight, the ‘place of performance’ of that flight, for the purposes of those provisions, is the place of arrival of the second leg, where the carriage on both flights was operated by two different air carriers and the action for compensation for the long delay of that connecting flight under Regulation No261/2004 is based on an irregularity which took place on the first of those flights, operated by the air carrier with which the passengers concerned do not have contractual relations; butthe forum of the place of provision of the services pursuant to the Brussels I Regulation does not apply to a defendant domiciled in a third State.Full text of judgement C-274/16 – fligfhtright available here>>.

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