Thought leadership from our experts

Is crew sickness an extraordinary circumstance under Regulation (EC) 261/2004?

On 25 August 2015, Germany's Highest Civil Court, the Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof), will hear a case in which it is in dispute whether or not the sickness of a crew member can constitute extraordinary circumstances in the meaning of Article 5 para 3 of Regulation (EC) 261/2004.

In this case, the Plaintiff was booked on a flight from Tenerife to Dusseldorf. The aircraft departed and landed with a delay of 4 hours. This delay was caused since the pilot felt sick on the previous flight from Dusseldorf to Tenerife to the effect that another pilot had to be activated for the subject flight from Tenerife to Dusseldorf.

The first instance court (Local Court in Dusseldorf) had dismissed the Plaintiff's action arguing that the sickness of a pilot cannot be avoided by the airline to the effect that compensation is not payable. However, the appeal court (Regional Court) granted the Plaintiff's action arguing that the sickness of a pilot falls in the sphere of the airline and cannot constitute extraordinary circumstances in the meaning of Article 5 para 3 of Regulation (EC) 261/2004.

The relevant question here is in great dispute in Germany. Therefore, it remains to be seen how the Federal Court of Justice will decide this case.

For further information, please contact:

Rainer Amann

Urwantschky Dangel Borst PartmbB
Insel 1
89231 Neu-Ulm
Germany
Tel. +49-(0)731-7070937
Fax +49-(0)731-7070999
amann@udabo.de
www.udabo.de