German Supreme Court: no compensation for flight cancellation caused by strike

In two cases the passengers’ LH flights from Miami to Germany were cancelled because of a strike of the pilots which followed a call for strike by a pilots’ association. In first instance, the courts granted compensation pursuant to Reg. 261/2004. In second instance, the Landgericht Köln dismissed LH’s appeal reasoning the a strike of the carrier’s own staff could not constitute extraordinary circumstances. In the second case, however, the Landgericht Frankfurt/Main followed LH’s appeal and reversed the judgement.Both cases recently were decided by the German Supreme Court (BGH). The BGH held that strikes even if carried out by the airline’s own staff could constitute extraordinary circumstances as they were not part of the usual business. If the carrier therfore could prove that all reasonable measures were taken to keep the number of cancelled flights as low as possible it was exempted form paying compensation to the passengers of the cancelled fligths.Source: BGH press release 133/2012 of Aug. 21,2012

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