UK: no exception to the exclusivity of the Montreal Convention with regard to disabled passengers

The case Hook v British Airways concerns a flight from London to Paphos, Cyprus on 26 July 2008 and the return flight on 10 August 2008. The plaintiff, a disabled person within the meaning of Article 2(a) of Regulation (EC) No.1107/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air, complains that on both the outward and return flights British Airways failed to make reasonable efforts to meet his seating needs contrary to Article 10 and Annex II of said Regulation. He filed his claim pursuant to Regulation 9 of the Civil Aviation (Access to Air Travel for Disabled Persons and Persons with Reduced Mobility) Regulations 2007, SI 2007/2895 (“the UK Regulations”).The High Court upheld the dismissal of the claim at first instance and held that there were no exceptions to the exclusivity of the Montreal Convention. The EC Regulation did not override the Convention and Regulation 9 of the UK Regulations had to be read to accord with the EC Regulation. There was no breach of the principle of equivalence. Neither the EC Regulation nor Regulation 9 of the UK Regulations created a private law cause of action sounding in damages. The EC Regulation and the UK Regulations were clear and there was no basis for a reference to the ECJ.Full judgement of Feb 25, 2011 in case Tony Hook v British Airways Plc [2011] EWHC 379 (QB) available here>>.

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