You are here:

CJEU - C 12/11 / Judgment

McDonagh v Ryanair Ltd

Deciding Body type:
Court of Justice of the European Union
Deciding Body:
General Court (Third Chamber)
Type:
Decision
Decision date:
31/01/2013
Key facts of the case:
  1. This request for a preliminary ruling concerns the interpretation and assessment of the validity of Articles 5(1)(b) and 9 of Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights, and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 295/91 (OJ 2004 L 46, p. 1).
  2. The request has been made in proceedings between Ms McDonagh and Ryanair Ltd (‘Ryanair’) regarding the airline company’s refusal to give Ms McDonagh the care provided for in Article 5(1)(b) of Regulation No 261/2004 after the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull had caused the cancellation of her flight and, more generally, closure of part of European airspace.
Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:
 
The Court (Third Chamber) hereby rules:
  1. Article 5 of Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights, and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 295/91, must be interpreted as meaning that circumstances such as the closure of part of European airspace as a result of the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano constitute ‘extraordinary circumstances’ within the meaning of that regulation which do not release air carriers from their obligation laid down in Articles 5(1)(b) and 9 of the regulation to provide care.
  2. Articles 5(1)(b) and 9 of Regulation No 261/2004 must be interpreted as meaning that, in the event of cancellation of a flight due to ‘extraordinary circumstances’ of a duration such as that in the main proceedings, the obligation to provide care to air passengers laid down in those provisions must be complied with, and the validity of those provisions is not affected.
However, an air passenger may only obtain, by way of compensation for the failure of the air carrier to comply with its obligation referred to in Articles 5(1)(b) and 9 of Regulation No 261/2004 to provide care, reimbursement of the amounts which, in the light of the specific circumstances of each case, proved necessary, appropriate and reasonable to make up for the shortcomings of the air carrier in the provision of care to that passenger, a matter which is for the national court to assess.