In November 2009, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has issued a highly debated decision, which expands air passenger rights in Europe. In extending the compensation provisions to delays in excess of three hours, the court declared passenger rights far beyond the wording of Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004. Therefore, airlines might be liable to huge compensation in case of flight delays; not only because of the actual volcanic ash crisis, a fact with a broad economical impact. However, the decision of the ECJ raises numerous follow-up questions. This article will firstly examine the limitation of actions. It will be shown that this is subject to national law. Furthermore, this article will conclude that in the case of multi-causal circumstances airlines are only obliged to compensate passengers in the event of the delay being within the scope of responsibility of the air carrier for at least three hours. Finally, it will be shown that airlines are not obliged to compensate for a delay due to a missed connecting flight with the same carrier.
Air and Space Law