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A diverted flight is not a justifiable reason to seek compensation

Regarding the lawsuit submitted by the passengers against Austrian Airlines, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled on April 22, 2021. that airlines are not obliged to compensate passengers in the event of flight being diverted to another airport. In other words, no compensation policy will apply when the aircraft landed at an airport other than the one where it was originally supposed to land due to the diversion reason.

Photo: Austrian Airlines

The passenger filed the lawsuit because the Austrian Airlines plane landed at Schoenefeld Airport with a delay of more than an hour instead of landing at the originally designated Tegel Airport in Berlin.

Due to the diversion and delay of the aircraft on the flight that took place in 2019, the passenger filed a claim for compensation in the amount of 250 euros.

The proceedings confirmed that the aircraft was diverted to Schoenefeld Airport due to bad weather conditions.

Thus, in accordance with the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union: "The diversion of a flight to an airport serving the same town, city or region does not grant the passenger a right to compensation for cancellation of a flight."

However, according to the interpretation of the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg, airlines must offer passengers reimbursement of transport costs to the original final airport or to another nearby destination upon the agreement with the passenger.

The Court also stated that under European Union law passengers may be empowered to claim compensation for flights delayed by more than three hours, unless the delay was caused by exceptional circumstances which could not have been avoided even by taking all appropriate measures (so-called force majeure).

Examples of force majeure that may limit or exclude the airline's liability to compensate its passengers may be cases of political instability, meteorological conditions preventing flights, safety risks, unexpected flight safety deficiencies and strikes of personnel affecting airline operations.

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