The EU’s Court of Justice recently ruled that airlines must compensate passengers if they cancel a flight for technical reasons, unless the blame is due to “extraordinary” events.
According to the court, extraordinary circumstances would include a defect revealed by the manufacturer, or acts of sabotage or terrorism.
However, technical problems that come to light during aircraft maintenance, or on account of failure to carry out such maintenance, do not make airlines exempt from passenger compensation. The European Court, whose rulings are binding on EU member states, said: “It is not ruled out that technical problems are covered by ‘exceptional circumstances’ to the extent that they stem from events that are not inherent in the normal exercise of the activity of the air carrier concerned and are beyond its actual control.”
The ruling was made after an Austrian family filed a claim against Alitalia.