October 5, 2012
CJEU Requires Compensation for Passengers Delayed by Strike
The Court of Justice for the European Union (CJEU) has delivered its judgment in Case C-22/11, Finnair Oyj v Timy Lassooy. The Court ruled that Regulation (EC) No 261/2004, which requires carriers to compensate passengers for delayed or cancelled flights, applies to delays caused by employee strikes. Finnair had attempted to argue that strikes constitute "extraordinary circumstances" under Article 5(3) of the regulation, and thus carriers should be exempt from their compensation obligations when delays are caused by strikes. The Court rejected this interpretation, decreeing that the Article 5(3) exemption was intended for events that "could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken."
This ruling should give industry employees additional leverage in future labor disputes, and given the frequency of airline strikes within the EU, could prove costly for Europe's already struggling carriers.