A judgment by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on the exact time of flight arrivals is due to be made today (Thursday).
The ruling will have implications for compensation claims given that carriers must pay passengers up to €600 if they are responsible for a delay to arrival time of three hours.
The arrival time options being discussed by the ECJ following a query by budget carrier Germanwings are:
- the time the aircraft lands on the runway (‘touchdown’);
- the time the aircraft reaches its parking position and the parking brakes are engaged or the chocks have been applied (‘in-block time’);
- the time the aircraft door is opened;
- or a time defined by the parties in the context of party autonomy
Adeline Noorderhaven, manager of specialist flight compensation company EUclaim in the UK, believes the ECJ will clearly state that in-block time will be the time for all flights falling with the scope of the EC Regulation 261/2004 [governing compensation payment].
She said: “Defining at what stage a plane has officially arrived is crucial. On average the time from landing (touchdown) to taxiing to the gate where the chocks are applied through to when the aircraft door is opened can be anything from 20 minutes upwards; every airport is different and these times therefore can vary dramatically.
“So the lack of cohesion over at which point a plane officially arrives, and the potential additional minutes of journey time, can make the difference of an airline having to pay out hefty compensation to passengers for delayed flights.
“Whichever side you are on it all adds up to a potentially costly bill.
“So, I look forward to hearing what the ECJ decides is the correct time to arrive.”
Sourced from Travel Weekly