EU Passenger rights

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IFTTA Law Review 3-2018 online

With a short delay, the last edition of the IFTTA Law Review 2018 is now available in the members area of the website. Prefaced by an editorial by Enrique Mota Flores, it contains articles on the liability of tourism intermediaries in Brazil (Rafael Viana) and the relation between European Passenger Rights and the Montreal Convention (Michael Wukoschitz).

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German Supreme Court: break down of the aiport computer system constitutes "extraordinary circumstances"

The claimants had booked flights from NYC to LON and then on to STR. Due to a break down of the computer systems at JFK aiport (which all in all lasted for 13 hrs), the claimants' flight to LON started 2 hrs late and they missed their conncetion flight to STR. They were rebooked to an alternative flight and reached their final destination with a delay of about 9 hrs. Their claim for compensation under Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004 remained unsuccessful at all court levels.

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CJEU: No Claim for Compensation under the EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation if Air Carrier is Lacking Valid Operating Licence

In 2017 the claimants had booked a holiday package to Mallorca with TUI Germany including flights with Sundair. Five days before departure they were informed that they were rebooked to other flights operated by other airlines wtih an outward flight arrving in Mallorca more than 13 hrs later and a return flight arrivng in Germany more than 3 hrs later than orginally booked. They filed a law suit against Sundair for compensation according to Reg. (EC) No. 261/2004.

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Austrian Supreme Court: tour organiser can be liable for hotel accomodation provided by air carrier

The return flight of the plaintiff''s holiday package was cancelled and the air carrier rebooked the plaintiff for the following day. Complying with its respective obligation under Reg. (EC) 261/2004, the air carrier provided the plaintiff with hotel accomodation for the additional night. The plaintiff - a person of reduced mobility  - took a walk in the area close to the hotel where she tripped, fell down and was injured. She sued the tour organiser for compensation for pain and suffering.

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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.

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CJEU clarifies burden of proof for timely information on flight cancellation

In case of cancellation of a flight, according to Article 5 of Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 the carrier shall be exempt from the obligation to pay compensation if the passengers were informed of the cancellation at least two weeks before the scheduled time of departure.

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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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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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