Eight years after the entry into force of Regulation 261/2004, and following the struggles of the industry, national enforcement bodies and courts with the interpretation and application of the Regulation, as also evidenced by several referrals to the Court of Justice of the European Union and by discussions between the Commission and national enforcement bodies and stakeholders, the Commission has finally proposed the long-awaited amendment of the Regulation.
This article will examine the Commission's proposal in detail and, while acknowledging improvement in certain aspects, it will point out possible complications in the application of some of its provisions, with a view to drawing the attention of the lawmakers to possible implications if these clauses are not amended or abandoned during the legislative process. The author urges the European legislator to avoid overregulation and to allow air carriers to compete in the field of passenger services, including assistance and compensation in case of flight irregularities. The author also suggests that the legislator should pay careful attention to the legal obligations of the Member States to each other and to the non-EU Member State Parties to the Montreal Convention 1999 as set forth in the Convention. Otherwise the proposed Regulation will, in the many instances covered, place the air carriers in conflict with these obligations.
The primary focus of the Article is the amendment of Regulation 261/2004,but some of the proposals for the amendment of Regulation 2027/97 will also be assessed. Reference will be made to previous CJEU judgments, but the analysis of such rulings falls outside the scope of this study.Air and Space Law