23 October 2012: CJEU judgment in joined cases C-581/10 (Nelson and Others) and C-629/10 (TUI Travel and Others) (see: press release)
The CJEU has confirmed with this ruling his previous decision (Sturgeon and Others) that passengers whose flights have been delayed for a long time may be compensated, on the basis of the provisions of the Regulation No 261/2004. (see our post on the AG's opinion: Airlines need to compensate passengers of delayed flights...)
The Regulation does not specifically give a right to a compensation for passengers whose flights have been delayed, just to these whose flights have been cancelled. In the Sturgeon judgment the CJEU compared the situation of passengers whose flights have been delayed (as long as they arrive more than 3 hours later at their destination) to those whose flights have been cancelled and gave them the same right to monetary compensation.
In today's decision the CJEU once again mentioned the principle of equal treatment, pursuant to which the same rights should be granted to passengers who are suffering the same inconvenience - the loss of time (more than 3 hours), regardless whether as a result of cancellation or a long delay. The airlines are protected from having to pay this compensation only in case when the delay was caused by extraordinary circumstances.
What is especially important in this ruling is that the CJEU states that there is no need to limit the temporal effects of the present judgment. The CJEU refused the airlines' request to confirm that the passengers whose flights were delayed could only apply for this compensation if their flight has been delayed after the date of the delivery of the judgment.