Finland: new reference for ECJ preliminary ruling regarding Reg. 261/2004 and “denied boarding”

The Finish Korkein oikeus referred the following questions to the ECJ:Is Regulation No 261/2004 and in particular Article 4 thereof to be interpreted as meaning that its application is limited only to cases of denied boarding which are caused by overbooking by the air carrier for economic reasons, or is the regulation applicable also to situations in which boarding is denied for other reasons, such as operational reasons?Is Article 2(j) of the regulation to be interpreted as meaning that the reasonable grounds laid down therein are limited only to factors relating to passengers, or may denied boarding be reasonable on other grounds? If the regulation is to be interpreted as meaning that denied boarding may be reasonable on grounds other than those relating to passengers, is it to be interpreted as meaning that denied boarding may also be reasonable on the grounds of the rescheduling of flights as a result of the extraordinary circumstances mentioned in recitals 14 and 15?Is the regulation to be interpreted as meaning that an air carrier may be exempted from liability under Article 5(3) in extraordinary circumstances not only with respect to a flight which it cancelled, but also with respect to passengers on later flights, on the ground that by its actions it attempted to spread the negative effects of the extraordinary circumstances it encountered in its operations, such as a strike, among a wider class of passengers than the cancelled flight’s passengers by rescheduling its later flights so that no passenger’s journey was unreasonably delayed? In other words, may an air carrier rely on extraordinary circumstances also with respect to a passenger on a later flight whose journey was not directly affected by that factor? Does it make a significant difference whether the passenger’s situation and right to compensation are assessed in accordance with Article 4 on denied boarding or with Article 5 on flight cancellation?Case C-22/11 – Finnair Oyj v Timy Lassooy; reference lodged on 18 January 2011

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