Volume 44 (2019) / Issue 6
Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004 sets a minimum level of quality standards for passenger’s protection, by providing compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding, delays and flight cancellation. This Regulation hugely impacts the aviation sector and imposes heavy costs on airlines. This strict regulatory framework keeps evolving and practice shows that there are still many grey zones in the Regulation, which is constantly clarified and interpreted both by national and European case-law. This article aims at reviewing the major case law handed down in 2018 and 2019 by the European Court of Justice (‘ECJ’) and by the French High Court, which seems to timidly tend to adopt a more flexible approach towards airlines, as courts recently enshrined new ‘extraordinary circumstances’ which exonerate airlines from their compensation obligation (I). The ECJ is also expected to rule on the burden of proof as regards presentation for check-in in the upcoming months (II). Other major decisions were handed down, namely to clarify the jurisdiction to hear a dispute arising out the delay of a flight (III), or the regime of compensation for passengers who have a right to claim the reimbursement of the cost of the air ticket against the tour operator (IV). The ECJ also recently acknowledged the possibility for passengers to claim compensation to the air carrier that performed the first leg of the flight even though it did not operate the second leg of the flight, which was actually late (V).
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