The Supreme Court of Justice of Moldova confirms the right to compensation in the event of a flight delay
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On 05 June 2019 the Supreme Court of Justice pronounced its decision in a case referring to flight delays (in return flights Chisinau – Turin – Chisinau) caused by the national Moldovan airline “Air Moldova”.
One of the flights was delayed for 7 hours, while the second one – for 3 h 10 min. Air Moldova admitted the fact of delays, however, it claimed that they were the result of certain flight security reasons, however, without providing any specific details.
The Supreme Court referred to the Regulation on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights (approved by the Decision of the Government no. 836 of 08 Nov. 2012). When the flight delay is 3 hours or more in the case of flights between 1 500 and 3 500 km, the passenger has the right to receive a compensation equivalent to EUR 400 paid in Moldovan lei according the official rate of the Moldovan National Bank.
The Supreme Court noted that, though the claimant had a return ticket, the delay for each flight should be considered and compensated separately. Therefore, with the great circle route distance between Chisinau and Turin being 1653 km (as confirmed by the certificate issued by the Moddovan National Civil Aviation Authority), the compensation for each flight shall be EUR 400.
The Supreme Court dismissed the arguments of the Court of Appeal which calculated both flights within the return ticket as one route (“all flights”) and only provided one single compensation of EUR 400 (as the total combined distance of all flights was less than 3500 km).
However, the Supreme Court dismissed the claim with regard to any additional damages (e.g., penalties under the Law on Consumers Protection or moral compensation) stating that the compensation provided for by the aforementioned Regulation covers all forms of damages, if the service was ultimately provided to the passenger.