European Court Rules Airlines Liable For Unforeseen Technical Problems.


New York (AirGuideBusiness - Business & Industry Features) - Thu, Sep 17, 2015 Airlines will have to pay passengers compensation when flights are cancelled or delayed due to unforeseen technical problems, the European Union's highest court has ruled, handing a victory to consumers. The case was brought by a Dutch couple whose flight from Quito, Ecuador, to Amsterdam was delayed by 29 hours. KLM refused to pay compensation on the grounds that the technical faults that caused the delay were extraordinary circumstances. Under EU law, air carriers do not have to pay compensation if the cancellation or delay is caused by "extraordinary circumstances" such as bad weather, strikes and political instability, which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken. KLM argued the two defective components at the root of the delay had not exceeded their average lifetime and that the manufacturer had not provided any specific information on which defects might arise once the equipment reached a certain age. The Luxembourg-based court said that while technical problems could constitute extraordinary circumstances, for example those caused by acts of sabotage or terrorism, the same could not be said for issues that arise during maintenance of the aircraft or from a failure to carry out such maintenance. "In the course of the activities of an air carrier, that unexpected event is inherent in the normal exercise of an air...

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