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Locked Out of Heaven: The Air Greenland Case and Extraordinary Circumstances

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Chapter Summary

Taking its outset in the Air Greenland judgment, this chapter addresses the question whether a lock-out due to a labour dispute may be qualified as an extraordinary circumstance and, consequently, whether an air carrier is liable to pay compensation if a delay or cancellation of a flight is caused by the air carrier's lock-out of employees essential for the operation of its aircraft. The relevant European Union rules concerning passenger rights are set out in Regulation 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Counsel of 11 February 2004 establishing common rules and compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights, and repealing Regulation 295/91. The leading case on the application of Article 5(3) is the Court's judgment in the Wallentin-Hermann case in which the Court provides guidelines as to the application of the rule concerning "extraordinary circumstances".

Keywords: air carrier's lock-out; Air Greenland judgment; Article 5(3) of European Court of Justice; European Parliament; European Union rules; extraordinary circumstance; Regulation 261/2004; Wallentin-Hermann case



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