Passenger rights in the case of delayed flights, Order of the Court of Justice of the European Communities of 14 November 2014, Case number C-394/14

In the Order of 14 November 2014, the Court (Fifth Chamber) confirmed its previous judgements according to which flight passengers are entitled to the compensation payments according to Article 5 para. 1 of the Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 in case of a delay of 3 hours or more (compensation payments in the amount of EUR 250 to EUR 600, depending on the flight route) Furthermore the Court has specified its interpretation of Article 5 para 3 of the Regulation:

Pursuant to Article 5 para 3 of the Regulation, the operating airline is not obligated to pay compensation if it can prove that the cancellation is due to extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided, even if all reasonable measurements had been taken.

In the case on which the decision of the Court of Justice of 14 November 2014 is based, the reason of the delay had been the collision of an airport vehicle, towing passenger boarding steps, with the airplane.

According to the Order of the Court of Justice of 14 November 2014, however, this cannot be qualified as “extraordinary circumstance” which would exempt the airline from the existing obligation to compensation against the passengers in the case of a long delay of the flight operated with this airplane.

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