Employer’s claim against an airline for damages as a result of delays: ruling

The Court of Justice for the European Union, in a judgment dated 17 February 2016, has ruled that article 19 of the Montreal Convention applies not only to those damages caused to passengers themselves but also to those suffered by the employer of the passengers subject to the limits laid down in article 22.1 of the said Convention.

Air Baltic lodged an appeal before the Supreme Court of Lithuania who brought the matter to the European Union Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling.

  1. In its judgment dated 17 February 2016, the European Union Court of Justice ruled that, given its wording, context and purpose, Article 19 of the Montreal Convention, although not providing explicitly for an air carrier to be liable to an employer in the event of damage occasioned by delay of flights carried out pursuant to a contract of international carriage binding that employer and carrier, lends itself to being interpreted as applying not only to damage caused to passengers themselves but also to damage suffered by an employer.
  2. The Court of Justice for the European Union also established that the amount of damages which may be awarded to the person, such as the claimant in the main proceedings, who has brought proceedings for compensatory damages resulting from a delay in the international carriage of passengers cannot, in any event, exceed the amount obtained by multiplying the limit laid down in Article 22(1) of the Montreal Convention by the number of passengers carried under the contract concluded by that person and the air carrier or carriers concerned. A compensation arrangement such as this is liable to strike an equitable balance between the interests of the contractual parties.

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