EU Court of Justice judgement on air carrier’s liability for flight cancellation

On 11th May 2017, the Court of Justice of the European Union issued an important judgment on the interpretation of Article 5 par.1, letter c) and 7 of (EC) Regulation n. 261/2004, which provides common rules on compensation and assistance to flight passengers in the event of denied boarding, cancellation or extended delay. The Court held that passengers who are not informed about the cancellation of the flight at least two weeks before the scheduled departure time shall be entitled to a suitable compensation from the air carrier. Moreover, the Court held that the air carrier shall be liable for said compensation even if the omission of the notice to the passengers about the cancellation of the flight is attributable to its agent, who failed to notify the passengers of the cancellation despite the prompt information that he directly received from the air carrier.

Another decision on road transport minimal costs

By the judgment no. 02655 of 21st February 2017, the Regional Court of Lazio (TAR) repealed the Italian Ministry of Infrastructures and Transport’s provisions which assessed the road transport minimal costs on the basis of the same formula previously used by the Osservatorio sulle Attività di Autotrasporto. TAR refers to the important decision of the European Court of Justice issued on 4th September 2014, where the Court held that Art. no. 83-bis of the Italian Law Decree no. 112/2008 is contrary to the EU principle of free competition under Art. no. 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of European Union, insofar as Art. 83-bis provided for the calculation of the road transport fares based on the minimal costs assessed by an entity (the Osservatorio sulle Attività di Autotrasporto) mainly composed of economic operators in the same industry.

Sub-carrier’s legal action and bankruptcy

By Judgement issued on 28th September 2015, the Civil Court of Turin held that Article no. 7-ter of Legislative Decree no. 286/2005 – concerning the sub-carrier’s legal action direct against the other companies involved in the transport operation – can be applied only among parties financially sound. In particular, the Court clarified that – in case of bankruptcy – the special rules provided for by the Bankruptcy Act must be applied, the said rules being based on the fundamental principle that all creditors must be subject to equal conditions (“par condicio creditorum”).