Airlines should pay compensation if flights are cancelled

cancelled flightsThe case was brought before the Court of Justice of the European Union by a couple from Holland, whose flight from Quito, Ecuador, to Amsterdam, suffered a delay of 29 hours.

The airline refused to pay compensation on the ground that unforeseen technical problems that have imposed this delay constitutes exceptional circumstances.

According to EU legislation, air carriers do not have to pay compensation if the cancellation or postponement of flights is caused by “exceptional circumstances”, such as bad weather, strikes or political instability, which can not be avoided even if all reasonable measures should be taken.

In his defense, the airline said that those two components defects that caused the delay have not exceeded their term average operational and their producer did not provide any specific information, according to which might seem fault when the equipment reaches a certain lifespan.

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In reasoning the ECJ pointed out that although the technical problems could be exceptional circumstances, for example if those caused by acts of sabotage or terrorism, the same is not true for problems that occur during maintenance the airplane or on grounds of non maintenance operations.

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“In the course of an airline, unexpected events inherent in the normal exercise of the activity of a company, given that carriers face regularly unexpected technical. No component of an aircraft does not last forever,” says CJ.

Consumer associations have welcomed the ECJ because it provides greater clarity on what constitutes “exceptional circumstances”, adding that airlines often offered this reason to refuse to provide compensation in case of technical problems.

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