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Parliamentary questions
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11 June 2019
Answer given by Ms Bulc on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-001141/2019

1. Concerning the first question raised by the Honourable Member, the ultimate decision on the trajectory of a commercial flight and its destination airport rests with the operating air carrier, through the pilot in command. When receiving a flight plan from an airline, Eurocontrol, acting under its Network Manager(1) mandate, cannot approve or disapprove the trajectory/destination of the flight, as its role is only to acknowledge the flight plan, after validating its compliance with the published traffic/airspace restrictions. It is not in its mandate to assess the relevance of the decision.

2. Then on the choice of Timisoara as the diversion airport, the primary decision criteria shall be the passengers’ safety, followed by business and technical considerations which pertain to the airline. When a flight needs to be diverted due to unexpected circumstances such as adverse weather, the quantity of the remaining kerosene is for instance an essential decision criteria. The Commission does not know the precise reasons for which Timisoara was chosen as diversion airport. The Honourable Member may whish to seek this information directly with Ryanair.

3. To the last question, right after the incident occurred, the Commission contacted the United Kingdom (UK) Civil Aviation Authority in its capacity of National Enforcement Body under Regulation (EC) No 261/2004(2), which is competent for this specific case, the flight originating from the UK territory. According to the information gathered by their services, on arrival 88 passengers took a coach transfer to Thessaloniki and 81 took hotel accommodation with meals, pending arrangement of a rescue flight. Ryanair refunded flight tickets and other expenses. The UK authorities concluded that care and assistance were provided as required under Regulation(EC) No 261/2004.

(1)Network Manager: as per Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/123.
(2)Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights.

Last updated: 13 June 2019Legal notice