18th Mar 2020 | News

Daniel Black explores flights cancelled or delayed by coronavirus in the following article


Flight cancelled or delayed by Coronavirus? The EU guidelines suggest claims will fail.

By Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 air passengers are given various rights when a flight on which they are booked (and have presented themselves on time to checkin for) suffers cancellation or a long delay. The suite of rights concernedgenerally apply to flights leaving from or arriving into a European Union airportand these remain applicable (at the time of writing) to flights leaving from or arriving into a United Kingdom (or Gibraltar) airport.One such right is the right to be paid a fixed sum of compensation for a cancelled flight, or one which is delayed by at least 3 hours. Here, passengers are automatically entitled to such compensation unless the airline can show that the cancellation or delay wascaused by ‘extraordinary circumstances’ that could not have been avoided even if all ‘reasonable measures’ had been taken by the airline (note, there is no right to compensation if the cancellation is made morethan 14 days in advance).

The question of whether an extraordinary circumstance exists is often hotly contested. In terms of the applicable legal test, the Court of Justice of the European Union has recently restated that: events may be classified as “extraordinary circumstances”, within the meaning of article 5(3) of Regulation No 261/2004, if, by their nature or origin, they are not inherent in the normal exercise of the activity of the air carrier concerned and are outside that carrier’s actual control, both conditions being cumulative:Moens v RyanairCase C159/18

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At 3 Hare Court we specialise in all aspects of International Travel Law, you can see our travel team here.


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