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French Air Traffic Strike: What Airlines and Airports Need to Know

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France is currently experiencing nationwide strikes, this included a strike by air traffic controllers (ATC), that caused significant disruptions to air travel. The Directorate General for Civil Aviation (DGAC) requested that carriers reduce flight schedules by 20-30% at several airports across the country, including Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris Orly Airport, and Marseille Provence Airport. Further delays and cancellations were proposed throughout March until the 23rd.

The ATC strike is part of a larger series of strikes called by a coalition of labor unions, political parties, and activist groups protesting the government’s proposed pension reforms. The strike has resulted in disruptions to public transportation, road transport, and road freight delivery services nationwide. Activists are also likely to stage demonstrations in town and city centers nationwide, which could cause business and transport disruptions in affected areas.

How Oracle Solicitors can help the operators

For airlines and airports affected by the strike, Oracle Solicitors, a law firm specialising in Aviation Law, offers flexible and cost-effective legal services at scale and across borders. The firm handles a range of legal matters, including passenger rights claims, aircraft leasing agreements, regulatory matters, and more.

What sets Oracle’s Aviation team apart is its commitment to providing services that reflect the dynamic, international, and competitive nature of the aviation industry. The team is composed of experienced barristers who serve as in-house counsel and dedicated aviation specialists who collaborate closely with clients to provide the very best advice and support.

Additionally, the expertise of Oracle’s Employment, Commercial, and Personal Injury teams is always on hand to ensure that clients receive comprehensive legal services tailored to their unique needs and resources.

In the context of the French strike, Oracle’s Aviation team can assist airlines and airports in navigating the legal complexities of passenger rights claims under Regulation EC 261/2004, the Montreal Convention, or other consumer laws.

The team can also provide legal support for aircraft leasing, airport agreements, and other contractual issues, as well as tax affairs, personal injury claims, and employment law matters.

Our successful cases

Germany – Successful defence of compensation claim due to computer and communication outage

Oracle Solicitors has successfully defended our client against a compensation claim because of a computer and communication outage at Eurocontrol. 

The flight in dispute was scheduled to operate from Weeze to Malaga, arriving at 11:35. Due to the system outage at Eurocontrol, the prior flight was affected by slot regulations and did not reach Weeze in time, leading to a delay at Malaga of more than three hours.  

Oracle argued that the system outage has led to a knock-on effect for the aircraft and was the reason for this delay. While the district court of Geldern accepted this as a fact, it didn’t find that the Airline exhausted all reasonable and available measures. 

Oracle appealed and argued, that the system outage affected the entire air traffic, and no rebooking or other form of transportation could have prevented the delay for the passengers. The regional court of Kleve followed this argument and dismissed the district courts judgement, leading to a success for us and the airline. 

See our German Team.

Italy – Successful defence of compensation claim due to claims management company process

Oracle Solicitors obtained a positive judgment for our client in which a company that stipulated a mandate contract with a passenger (CMC – Claim Management Company) was ordered to pay a sum for abuse of process plus reimbursement of legal costs. 

For a delay that was already proven the CMC sent a pre court letter before the trial started and the airline company immediately replied offering the compensation.  

The CMC did not reply to the company’s proposal and started the trial but the Judge declared the plaintiff liable under Article 96, comma 3 of the Italian Code of Civil Procedure for recklessness of the legal action due to the vagueness of the claim.   

For these reasons the plaintiff was condemned to pay the litigation costs, in addition to an amount for abuse of process.  

Acting Fee Earner: Manuela Danza 

UK – Successful defence of compensation claim due to an ATC equipment failure

Oracle Solicitors was successful in defending our client against a compensation claim following flight disruption due to an ATC equipment failure. 

The aircraft scheduled to operate the Claimants’ flight had three prior flights to complete before conducting the route from Prague to Stansted. As a result of the French air traffic equipment failure, the Airline was unable to carry out its flight schedule on the aircraft as intended, and the Claimants’ flight suffered a delay on departure totalling three hours and 56 minutes.  

However, Oracle Solicitors were able to present a compelling case on behalf of the Airline that the that knock-on effect was so significant that it amounted to an extraordinary circumstance, and the Airline had taken all reasonable measures available on the departure date. Therefore, District Judge Deane sitting at Liverpool County Court found in favour of the Airline and dismissed the Claimants’ claim to compensation under Regulation 261/2004. 

Acting Fee Earner: Chanel Stylianou 

With expert aviation lawyers working in multiple jurisdictions across Europe under a unified banner, Oracle Solicitors has the reach and breadth of expertise to match its clients’ ambitions. The firm’s reputation for going the extra mile to win, and its commitment to pioneering new and creative approaches to achieve clients’ goals, make it an invaluable partner for airlines and airports navigating the challenges of the aviation industry.

Contact us today to 02030515060 or at [email protected] to help you navigate your legal challenges. 

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