CJEU: damage to an aircraft tyre caused by a screw lying on the runway constitutes "extraordinary circumstances"

Michael Wukoschitz's picture

The plaintiff had been passenger of a Germanwings flight from DUB to DUS. When preparing for take-off, the flight crew discovered that one of the aircraft's tyres had been damaged by a screw which must have been lying on the runway. The tyre had to be changed which caused a delay of more than 3 hrs.

In its judgement of April 4, 2019, the CJEU held that a  damage to an aircraft tyre caused by a foreign object lying on the take-off or landing runway falls within the scope of the notion of an ‘extraordinary circumstance’ within the meaning of Article 5(3) of Regulation (EC) No 261/2004. However, in order to be exempt from compensation the carrier has to establish that it had deployed all its resources in terms of staff or equipment and the financial means at its disposal to avoid that the necessary tyre change leads to a long delay of the flight.

Case: C-501/17 - Germanwings v Pauels; judgment of April 4, 2019