Delayed departure due to screw on the runway – according to EuGH no claim for compensation


A screw on the runway caused a delay of more than three hours. During the landing of a Germanwings aircraft in Düsseldorf, an aircraft tire was damaged and had to be replaced. This caused a very late onward flight to Dublin.

However, a passenger who wanted to claim compensation for the delayed arrival in Ireland under the EU Passenger Rights Regulation was disappointed.

Germanwings had rejected the compensation payment he had demanded on the grounds that it had been an “extraordinary circumstance”. The airline´s argument was that the aircraft tire had to be changed due to a screw that got into the tire.

The passenger did not want to accept this and took the claim to the regional court Cologne. The latter asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) whether this could, in fact, be an “exceptional circumstance”. The Court decided that a screw on the runway was to be regarded as an “exceptional circumstance” and that the airline was neither responsible for it nor able to control it. According to the ECJ, the airline is therefore exempt from paying compensation unless it has not made sufficient efforts to limit the damage.

To what extent Germanwings has taken all necessary measures to prevent the delay must be clarified by the Cologne Regional Court in the next step.

Should it turn out that Germanwings has not done everything necessary to prevent this delay, the passenger could still assert his claim for compensation.

If you want to save yourself the nerve-racking argument with the airline, you should contact us.

Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

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