What is an extraordinary circumstance?

The airline with which you are traveling must pay you a lump sum indemnity unless this cancellation results from an extraordinary circumstance. But what is an extraordinary circumstance? SAV.flights helps you to see more clearly.

In case of cancellation or delay of your flight, you have the right to a fixed compensation provided by the European regulations. However, the airline with which you have traveled is not obliged to pay you the compensation provided if the cancellation is due to extraordinary circumstances that could not have been avoided.

If the responsibility of the airline is not engaged

European regulation 261/2004 does not give a specific example, but indicates that “there is an extraordinary circumstance when an air traffic management decision concerning a specific aircraft for a specific day generates a significant delay, a delay overnight or the cancellation of one or more flights of this aircraft, although all reasonable steps have been taken by the airline to avoid such delays or cancellations. “

Certain facts and events may indeed be considered as extraordinary circumstances, justifying the cancellation of a flight. Thus, the passenger right states: “Such circumstances may arise, in particular, in the event of political instability, weather conditions that are incompatible with the completion of the flight concerned, security risks, unforeseen failures that may affect the safety of passengers. theft, as well as strikes affecting the operations of an effective airline.

But it is the judges, and the case law, who decide whether a fact, which has caused the cancellation of a theft, can be considered as an extraordinary circumstance.

Examples of extraordinary circumstances

The definition of an extraordinary circumstance remains unclear for the general public. When does a circumstance become extraordinary? For example, can a technical incident on an aircraft, leading to the cancellation of the flight, be considered as an extraordinary circumstance? In a judgment delivered on 19 November 1999, the Court of Justice of the European Union stated that “a technical problem with an aircraft can not be regarded as an extraordinary circumstance unless it arises from events which, by their nature or origin, are not inherent in the normal exercise of the activity of the airline concerned and are beyond its effective control. “

Clearly, a breakdown on a device can be considered an extraordinary circumstance if and only if its maintenance program has been respected and if there is no lack of vigilance on the part of the company.

In the case of a bird entering a reactor, the Captain will be asked to land the aircraft, which can lead to significant delays. The case law has always held that such a circumstance was extraordinary and could not be foreseeable for the carrier. There can therefore be no fixed compensation for the passenger.

Regarding strikes, everything depends on the circumstances and each situation will be appreciable on a case by case basis. It is clear from the case law that strikes are not considered as extraordinary circumstances where they were foreseeable.

Clearly, a breakdown on a device can be considered an extraordinary circumstance if and only if its maintenance program has been respected and if there is no lack of vigilance on the part of the company.

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