European law: Limitation period for flight cancellations

The time limit for bringing an action for payment of the legislation of the Union provided for the cancellation of flights compensation shall be governed by the provisions of the Member States relating to the limitation action. In the underlying case where Mr. Cuadrench Moré acquired from KLM a ticket for a 20 December 2005 proposed flight from Shanghai to Barcelona. Since this flight was cancelled, Mr. Cuadrench Moré was forced on the next day to fly with another airline via Munich. On 27 February 2009 / that’s more than three years later/ Mr. Cuadrench Moré brought before a Spanish court against KLM, with which he requested a compensation of 2,990 euros plus interest and costs as compensation for the loss, which he suffered.

KLM claimed that the action was time-barred, as provided for in the Conventions and of Warschau1 Montreal2, two-year period had elapsed for the collection of damages against Carrier.Was granted of passenger’s compensation claim, which varies depending on the distance and the place of their cancelled flight. Passengers can make that claim before the national courts. The European regulation contains no provision on the period within which proceedings may be brought to compensation.

Against this background, the Audencia Provincial de Barcelona for a preliminary ruling to the European Court of Justice. According this is determined the period for bringing an action for payment of the Union law.In this regard, the Court of the European Union suggests that it is for the domestic legal system of each Member State /in the absence of any EU law rules to determine the detailed procedural rules, the governing actions for safeguarding rights of the individuals/ derive from European Union law rights. However, these procedural rules respect the principle of effectiveness and the principle of equivalence in comparison to the national law provided.

The Court of Justice of the European Union adds that such a finding cannot be called into question with the provisions of the agreements of Warsaw and Montreal can, as provided for in Regulation No 261/2004. The compensation measure does not fall within the scope of such agreements, although it complements the procedure determined by this compensation scheme. Union law takes namely an autonomous system of standardized and immediate compensatory damages resulting from those based on delays and cancellations of flights.

This system is separate from the Warsaw and Montreal Conventions.

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