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September 2022, Virtual
September 29 2022, Virtual
Passengers can now claim compensation when flights are cancelled or delayed due to technical problems, the European Court of Justice has ruled.
The decision in a case which involved Dutch airline KLM means that airlines can no longer claim problems caused during or due to a lack of aircraft maintenance are “extraordinary circumstances”.
This means airlines are now liable to pay compensation to passengers who suffer cancellations or delays in such cases. Passengers are entitled to up to €600 under EU regulation 261 if a flight lands more than three hours late
The phrase “extraordinary circumstances” still applies to flights that are affected by severe weather, strikes and political instability.
The court ruled that as these situations cannot be reasonably avoided by airlines, then compensation does not have to be paid when they cause cancellations and delays.
“The airline must ensure the maintenance and proper functioning of all aircraft used for commercial activities. No component of an aircraft is indestructible; these situations are inherent in the normal operations of an airline,” said the court.
“Therefore, when a flight is cancelled due to unforeseen technical errors, the airline remains obliged to pay compensation to its passengers.”
Last month, the UK's Civil Aviation Authority enforced legislation to make Aer Lingus, Wizz Air and Jet2 change their compensation policies for delayed and cancelled flights.
Ryanair said it already complied with EU 261 by “accepting technical delay claims and claims made within six years of the date of delay”.
The airline added that the Court of Justice ruling would have “less effect on Ryanair than any other EU airline as Ryanair suffers fewer delays and fewer cancelations than any other EU airline”.