EU Law on Air travel

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1. On 15 April 2010, because aircraft risks most of the European airspace was closed down due to the eruption of the Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajökull. Denise McDonagh, had reserved a flight ‘from Faro to Dublin’[1] for 17 April 2010, was cancelled by an unexpected event as discussed above and did not resume until 22 April 2010 thus she reached Dublin on the 24 of April 2010. On 17 to 24 April 2010, she was stranded in Faro and spent £1129. 41 on food and lodging. Since, Ryanair failed to provide her care under Article 5 and 9 of Regulation No 261/2004[2] during this period. She claimed the expenditures to Ryanair, which argued that the event of this spring 2010 go beyond the meaning of ‘extraordinary circumstances’ as states in Regulation.[3] The claimant brought a case in Dublin Metropolitan District Court, due to uncertainties, as to whether the obligation in providing care are limited under circumstances like at issues. The national court[4] request a preliminary ruling under Article 267 TFEU[5] to the Court of Justice. The issues referred were, firstly, whether the closure of the airspace due to volcanic eruption still falls under the notion of ‘extraordinary circumstances’ of the regulation[6] or went beyond? If yes, is liability for providing care in such event under Article 5 and 9 of Regulation No 261/2004[7] excluded? Secondly, is unexpected event like the Icelandic volcano eruption comprised ‘a temporal and monetary limit’ implied into the care obligations? Finally, in case of negative answers in both above issues, did the regime violates the doctrine ‘of proportionality and non-discrimination and the principle of an equitable balance of interests in the Montreal Convention’[8] and the Article 16 and 17 of the charter?[9] 2. Firstly, the court just like the Advocate General turned that the expression ‘extraordinary circumstances’[10] is not defined under EU law and that consideration is for its ‘everyday language’.[11] Next the court like Advocate General recognized no ‘separate category of ‘particularly extraordinary’ event beyond the term of ‘extraordinary circumstances’[12] which would exempt Ryanair from the obligations under regulation.In Sturgeon and Others,[13] the court states that the regulation need to maintain a high level of protection whatever unexpected events causing difficulties to air transport. Similarly, the Advocate General established that obligations, to provide care under Regulation[14] is necessary to air passengers whatever cancelled the flight. Hence, court like Advocate General finds that the spring 2010 event falls within an ‘extraordinary circumstances’ thus not releasing Ryanair from its obligation under Regulation.[15] Next, the court like the Advocate General established that under regulation[16] no limitation exists, either ‘temporal or monetary’[17] for providing care to passengers whose flight are cancelled due to ‘extraordinary circumstances’.[18] Therefore, the requirements for providing care to passengers who is awaiting for their flight re-routing is imposed. The court, like Advocate General, establishes that care to passengers is essential in unexpected event which persist for a long period through flight cancellation, to ensure that the customers have the essential necessities during this time. The court states that, despite the requirements to provide care cause financial inconveniences to air carriers, it will not be disproportionate to the objective of ensuring a high level of protection for the passengers. The aim is essential as it justify the extensive negative financial issues for some operators. As experiences operators the air carriers should include costs that implied care the ticket price. The Advocate General takes the same approach, for disproportionate, established the ‘EU 261 levy’[19] by Ryanair in the ticket price cover customers care. Both the court and Advocate General stated that Article 5 and 9[20] does not infringe to the principle of proportionality, equitable balance of interests in the Montreal Convention and the Article 16 and 17 of the charter.[21] 3. The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union[22] bracketed all under ‘a single document for the protection of EU fundamental rights.’[23] Prior to the Treaty of Lisbon,[24] the Charter[25] legal status was undefined and have no binding effect. Since, the Lisbon Treaty[26], which came into force on 1st of December 2009 it was given a legal value under Article 6.[27] Moreover, Article 6[28] also established that the Charter’s[29] provisions must not extend in any way the union’s competences as stated in the Treaties.However,a protocol to the Treaty was added because United Kingdom and Poland have opted out. I agree with the compatibility with both Article 5 (1) (b) and 9 of Regulation[30] with Article 16 and17 of the charter.[31] The court asserts that Ryanair, is simply released from its obligation of compensating under Article 7[32] thus, its obligations under Article 9[33] remains as in Eglitis and Ratnieks[34]. Therefore, since it has already been invoked in a case, it is clear that the above regulation is compatible with Article 16 and 17.[35] Under Article 9[36] duties to provide care for customers ‘whose flight is cancelled are imposed, in their entirely’ on Ryanair throughout the whole course of re-routing. Though, it is clear under Art9(1)(b)[37] that Ryanair must give free of charge lodging during this period. It will be compatible under the Article 16 and 17[38] since it establishes the way of conducting a business ‘in accordance […] Union law and national laws […] is recognised’[39] and ‘… under the conditions provided law.’ [40] As previously stated in IATA and ELFAA[41] Article 5 and 7[42] is not invalid due to infringement of the principle of proportionality.Therefore, it will be compatible with Article 16 and 17[43] as it is stated in a case. Since Article 9[44] entails the provision of care in its definition, Ryanair cannot claim economic problems since, it will not be disproportionate to maintain ‘a high level of protection to the passengers.Consequently, Article 16 and 17 are compatible as it clearly elaborates what is said under in Article 9. The court established compensation under Article 5(1)(b) and 9 of the regulation in unexpected event which is considered as necessary will be given to the passengers.This clearly reflects the compatibility with Article16 and 17 which states that ‘No one may be deprived ….. except […] public interest […] to fair compensation […] paid in good time[…] loss’[45] and ‘…in accordance with Union law…’[46]. The court already held in IATA and ELFAA[47] is not contrary to the principle of equal treatment since the mode operation is not the same as other modes of transport.Hence, under the wording it is visibly comparable Article 16.[48] Lastly, Article 16 and 17[49] of the charter is relevant to the economic rights which laid down in the EU’s charter.[50] Ryanair claimed that duty of providing care to the passengers deprive airlines of ‘part of the fruits […] labour and […] investment’[51] breach Article 16 and 17 of the charter.[52] The court’s points out like in Deutches Weintor[53] that neither the freedom to conduct business, nor the right of property were absolute rights and that it need to be considered together with Article 52 (1)[54] of the charter. Hence, Article 169 TFEU[55] and Article 38[56] is essential for consumer protection to strike reasonable balance in favour of the consumer like in Promusicae[57] and Deutches Weintor[58] . Thus, it is compatible to the Article 16 and 17[59] which do no breach the provisions. Word Count:1200 Bibliography Primary Sources Cases:
  • Case C-12/11 Denise McDonagh v Ryanair [2013] CJEU
  • Case C-544/10 Deutsches Weintor [2012] ECR ‰€­€°€°€°€°
  • Case C- 275/06 Promusicae [2008] ECR ‰-271
  • Cases C-402/07 and C-432/07 Sturgeon and Others [2009] ECR I-10923
  • Case C-294/10 Eglitis and Ratnieks [2011] ECR ‰€­€°€°€°€°
  • Case C-344/04 IATA and ELFAA [2010] ECR € Ââ€°â‚¬Â­â‚¬Â´â‚¬Â°â‚¬Â³
EU legislation:
  • 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 (OJ 2004 L 46, p. 1).
Secondary Sources Books:
  • Fairhurst.J, Law of the European Union (9th Edn, Pearson 2013)
  • Blondi.A, Eeckhout.P, Ripley.S, EU LAW AFTER LISBON (Oxford 2012)
  • Foster.N, Blackstone’s EU Treaties & Legislation (24th Edn, Oxford 2013-2014)
Chapters in Books
  • Fairhurst.J, ‘Sources of EU Law (including general principles of law and fundamental rights)’, Law of the European Union (9th Edn, Pearson 2013) pp.70
  • Blondi.A, Eeckhout.P, Ripley.S, ‘The Charter of Fundamental Right’ by David Anderson and Cian C Murphy(Oxford 2012) pp.159
  • Foster.N, ‘Charter of Fundamental Right of the European Union’ Blackstone’s EU Treaties & Legislation (24th Edn, Oxford 2013-2014) pp.155
Online Journals: <http://www.theguardian.com/business/2012/mar/22/ryanair-payout-stranded-ash-passengers> (Accessed on 27 December 2013) Websites and Blogs
[1] Case C-12/11 Denise McDonagh v Ryanair [2013]CJEU, para 12 [2] http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2004:046:0001:0007:en:PDF (Accessed on 27 December 2013) [3] http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2004:046:0001:0007:en:PDF (Accessed on 27 December 2013) [4] Dublin Metropolitan Distric Court [5] http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:12008E267:EN:HTML (Accessed on 16 January 2014) [6] http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2004:046:0001:0007:en:PDF (Accessed on 27 December 2013) [7] http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2004:046:0001:0007:en:PDF (Accessed on 27 December 2013) [8] Case C-12/11 Denise McDonagh v Ryanair [2013]CJEU, para 17 no 3 and 5 [9] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/charter/pdf/text_en.pdf (Accessed on 10 January 2014) [10] Case C-12/11 Denise McDonagh v Ryanair [2013]CJEU para 16 [11] Case C-12/11 Denise McDonagh v Ryanair [2013]CJEU, para 28 and 29 [12] Case C-12/11 Denise McDonagh v Ryanair [2013]CJEU, para 30 [13] Cases C-402/07 and C-432/07 Sturgeon and Others [2009] ECR I-10923,para 44 [14] http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2004:046:0001:0007:en:PDF (Accessed on 27 December 2013) [15] http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2004:046:0001:0007:en:PDF (Accessed on 27 December 2013) [16] http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2004:046:0001:0007:en:PDF (Accessed on 27 December 2013) [17] Case C-12/11 Denise McDonagh v Ryanair [2013]CJEU para 17 no 3 and 5 [18] Case C-12/11 Denise McDonagh v Ryanair [2013]CJEU para 16 [19] Case C-12/11 Denise McDonagh v Ryanair( Opinion of Advocate General) Delivered on 22 March 2012, para 59 [20] http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2004:046:0001:0007:en:PDF (Accessed on 27 December 2013) [21] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/charter/pdf/text_en.pdf (Accessed on 10 January 2014) [22] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/charter/pdf/text_en.pdf (Accessed on 10 January 2014) [23] http://ec.europa.eu/justice/fundamental-rights/charter/ ( Accessed on 10 January 2014) [24] http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2007:306:FULL:EN:PDF (Acessed on 10 January 2014) [25] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/charter/pdf/text_en.pdf (Accessed on 10 January 2014) [26] http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2007:306:FULL:EN:PDF (Acessed on 10 January 2014) [27] http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2008:115:0013:0045:en:PDF (Accessed on 12 January 2014) [28] http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2008:115:0013:0045:en:PDF (Accessed on 12 January 2014) [29] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/charter/pdf/text_en.pdf (Accessed on 10 January 2014) [30] http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2004:046:0001:0007:en:PDF (Accessed on 27 December 2013) [31] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/charter/pdf/text_en.pdf (Accessed on 10 January 2014) [32] http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2004:046:0001:0007:en:PDF ()Accessed on 27 December 2013) [33] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/charter/pdf/text_en.pdf (Accessed on 10 January 2014) [34] Case C-294/10 Eglitis and Ratnieks [2011] ECR ‰€­0000,para 23 and 24 [35] http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2004:046:0001:0007:en:PDF (Accessed on 27 December 2013) [36] http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2004:046:0001:0007:en:PDF (Accessed on 27 December 2013) [37] http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2004:046:0001:0007:en:PDF (Accessed on 27 December 2013) [38] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/charter/pdf/text_en.pdf (Accessed on 10 January 2014) [39] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/charter/pdf/text_en.pdf (Accessed on 10 January 2014) [40] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/charter/pdf/text_en.pdf (Accessed on 10 January 2014) [41] Case C-344/04 IATA and ELFAA [2010] ECR € Ââ€°â‚¬Â­â‚¬Â´â‚¬Â°â‚¬Â³â‚¬Â¬â‚¬ para 78-92 [42] http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2004:046:0001:0007:en:PDF (Accessed on 27 December 2013) [43] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/charter/pdf/text_en.pdf (Accessed on 10 January 2014) [44] http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2004:046:0001:0007:en:PDF ( Accessed on 27 December 2013) [45] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/charter/pdf/text_en.pdf (Accessed on 10 January 2014) [46] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/charter/pdf/text_en.pdf (Accessed on 10 January 2014) [47] Case C-344/04 IATA and ELFAA [2010] ECR€ â‚¬ Ââ€°â‚¬Â­â‚¬Â´â‚¬Â°â‚¬Â³â‚¬Â¬â‚¬ para 96 [48] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/charter/pdf/text_en.pdf (Accessed on 10 January 2014) [49] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/charter/pdf/text_en.pdf (Accessed on January 2014) [50] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/charter/pdf/text_en.pdf (Accessed on January 2014) [51] Case C-12/11 Denise McDonagh v Ryanair Ltd,[2013] CJEU,para 59 [52] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/charter/pdf/text_en.pdf (Accessed on 10 January 2014) [53] Case C-544/10 Deutsches Weintor [2012] ECR ‰€­€°€°€°€°€¬€ para 54. [54] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/charter/pdf/text_en.pdf (Accessed on January 2014) [55] http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:12008E169:en:NOT (Accessed on 15 January 2014) [56] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/charter/pdf/text_en.pdf ( Accessed on 10 January 2014) [57] Case C- 275/06 Promusicae [2008] ECR ‰-271, para 65 and 66 [58] Case C-544/10 Deutsches Weintor [2012] ECR€ Ââ€°â‚¬Â­0000,para 47 [59] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/charter/pdf/text_en.pdf (Accessed on 10 January 2014)
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