According to a judgment rendered by the European Court of Justice on 17 February, employers can demand compensation in the event of delayed flights. (ECJ, Case No. C-429/14; Air Baltic Corporation AS v Lietuvos Respublikos specialiųjų tyrimų tarnyba)
The proceedings concerned compensation for damage caused by the delay of flights of Air Baltic Corporation AS carrying two agents of the Special Investigation Service of the Republic of Lithuania. The two investigator arrived at their final destination in Azerbaijan with a delay of 14 hours. As a result, additional travel costs incurred and these costs were asserted against the airline by the employer.
The court ruled that according to the so-called Montreal Convention (Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air, concluded at Montreal on 28 May 1999, in particular Articles 19, 22 and 29 thereof) must be interpreted as meaning that an air carrier which has concluded a contract of international carriage with an employer of persons carried as passengers, such as the employer at issue in the main proceedings, is liable to that employer for damage occasioned by a delay in flights on which its employees were passengers pursuant to that contract, on account of which the employer incurred additional expenditure.
According to the ruling, the airlines are liable for losses incurred by employers because of delays of their employees' flights. However, employers can only demand the maximum amount of damages for delays, which is currently approximately €5,000 according to the Montreal-Convention.
The damages for an employer are not likely to exceed the amount that the individual traveler could also demand.