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Parliamentary questions
PDF 39kWORD 9k
10 March 2020
Question for written answer E-001468/2020
to the Commission
Rule 138
Marc Angel (S&D)
 Answer in writing 
 Subject: Air passengers’ rights and ‘extraordinary circumstances’

Regulation 261/2004/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council lays down certain common rules relating to aviation. It stipulates ‘in extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken, airlines are exempt from the obligation to pay compensation’ and it lists a number of examples of such cases.

The fact that the grounds for exempting airlines from paying compensation are listed in the form of examples gives airlines the opportunity to interpret the expression ‘extraordinary circumstances’ broadly and, in some cases, in a manner that does not correspond to the intention of the regulation. Consequently, airlines breach passengers’ rights. Passengers do not have any corresponding means of verifying whether ‘extraordinary circumstances’ have genuinely arisen.

The concept of ‘extraordinary circumstances’ is addressed clearly and extensively in several rulings from the Court of Justice of the European Union, which the Commission has published on its website.

Will the Commission clarify the term of ‘extraordinary circumstances’ on the basis of these judgments and include an exhaustive list of situations qualified as extraordinary or not in the revision of the above regulation?

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