Aviation lawyer Stephan Eriksson leaves Liman & Partners and starts up niche Law Firm specialized in Aviation and Travel law, Advokatfirman Eriksson & Partners AB (www.erikssonpartners.com ) 


Eriksson & Partners represents airlines, helicopter operators, maintenance facilities, air brokers, travel agencies etc where the firm assists with all aviation related legal matters such as transfer and lease of aircraft registration matters, contracts and disputes. Eriksson & Partners assists pilots with licensing and does aviation related criminal law. The firm also has a long standing experience of claims handling of larger commercial air disasters and passengers delays.

MEPs adapt package travel rules to the digital age

Package holidays, consisting of a flight, hotel or car-hire and purchased online for an all-in price or through linked webpages, will get the same protection as packages bought in travel agencies under rules voted by MEPs on Tuesday. MEPs ensured that travellers will have more options to cancel a contract and get clear advance information on who is ultimately responsible if something goes wrong.


“Due to the changes in the travel market and the increasing trend towards online travel bookings there is an urgent need to modernize and adapt the old directive which dates back to 1990,” said the rapporteur, Birgit Collin-Langen (EPP, DE).

“With this revised legislation, the rights of travellers in Europe are strengthened overall. New booking models are now included within its scope and travellers are informed comprehensively of their rights. We have also managed to take into account the economic interests of the industry – operators, travel agencies or hotels,” she added.

Protecting more travellers

Package travel rules will cover two types of contract: package deals (pre-arranged by the tour organiser or customised by the traveller) and a new way of travel booking, called linked travel arrangements, where consumers are guided, for example, once they have booked a flight, to book additional travel services through a targeted online link.

Parliament ensured that these “click-through” deals where the traveller’s name, payment details and e-mail address are transferred between traders and a second contract is concluded within 24 hours after the first service was booked, will be considered as a package deal.

Clear information and more rights

Before holidaymakers enter into any contractual commitments, organisers and retailers must make it clear that they are buying a package and inform them of their rights and who is responsible if something goes wrong, says the text

Parliament added the obligation for the organiser to give travellers approximate departure and return times and an indication of the nature of any possible extra costs.

It also secured the right for travellers to cancel a package-deal contract and get their money back if the price of the package rises by more than 8% (the Commission had proposed 10%) or if “unavoidable” events such as natural disasters or terrorist attacks strike the place of destination.

Next steps

Parliament’s vote ends the EU legislative procedure. Member states now have two years to incorporate the new rules into their national law and a further six months to make them applicable.

Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), 2nd reading agreement



Is a bird strike an extra ordinary circumstance according to EU Reg 261/2004?

Is a bird strike an extra ordinary circumstance according to EU Reg 261/2004? Not according to a recent court case from UK.


Thomas Cook, TRS Travelright


Bird strikes can no longer be used by airlines as one of the extraordinary circumstances defences against paying flight delay compensation under EU Regulation 261/2004.

This follows a judgment handed down at Manchester County Court today in the case of Ash v Thomas Cook Airlines.

District Judge Sunil Iyer ruled in favour of Timothy Ash and his family, including a disabled son, awarding the four €1,600 compensation for a flight delay of more than five hours on a flight from Antalya in Turkey to Manchester in 2011.

According to European flight delay regulation EC 261/2004, passengers who have been delayed by three hours or more in the last six years can claim up to €600, as long as their delay was not caused by ‘extraordinary circumstances’.

But what constitutes an extraordinary circumstance has been vague in UK courts, as the regulation does not list specific circumstances that should be considered ‘extraordinary’.

It is widely agreed that passengers cannot claim for acts of terrorism or sabotage, extreme weather conditions, civil unrest, hidden manufacturing defects or industrial action – yet there has previously been confusion around claiming for delays caused by bird strikes.

Judge District Iyer said that bird strikes cannot be considered extraordinary because they happen several times a day.

He said: “For my part I observe that the word used is “extraordinary” rather than “unexpected”, “unforeseeable”, “unusual” or even “rare”. Extraordinary to me connotes something beyond unusual.

“A motorway collision between two cars on a motorway is unusual but not extraordinary, whereas a motorway collision between a car, and say, a horse would be extraordinary.

“Bird strikes happen every day, in fact many times a day, and would hardly be worthy of comment but for the delay which they cause.

“They do not fall within the same category as a motorway collision between a car and my previous example of a horse, which would be extraordinary, for the simple reason that our skies are populated with birds, whereas our roads are not populated with horses.”

The Judge also noted that bird strikes are so common that Manchester airport uses a hawk to prevent other birds from straying into its airspace.

Airlines once used ‘technical problems’ as an excuse not to pay out, but this changed when the Court of Appeal ruled that technical problems were not extraordinary circumstances in the case of Huzar V Jet2.com in June 2014.




Aviation Conference in Montreal

8th Annual McGill conference on international aviation liability

McGill conference Montreal TRS Travelright


I enjoyed a fantastic 8th Annual McGill conference on international aviation liability in Montreal April 17-18.  I had the pleasure to speak about the pending revision of EU Regulation 261/2004. For instance the right to flight delay compensation will now be implemented into the Regulation. Today the passengers’ right is based upon the EU Court cases Sturgeon and Nelson. It seems the compensation levels of 250,400 and 600 euros for flight delay, cancellation and denied boarding will be permanented but that the time thresholds will be increased from 3 hours to maybe 5 hours. The proposal also suggests a right to disembarkation after five hours of tarmac delay and an expressed right to rerouting with other Airlines or other means of transportation after 12 hours. Another proposed change is a limitation of assistance to 3 days and maximum 100 euros per person and night for hotel. The proposal will probably be enacted juli 1, 2016.

To not follow flightcrew’s instruction did not exonerate airline from liability

On January 14 2015 the Tel Aviv Magistrate Court handed down judgment in Arie Goldman v El Al Airlines and obliged El Al to indemnify the plaintiff for bodily injuries sustained during take-off.(1)


On January 10 2007 the flight in question departed from London to Tel Aviv. The plaintiff argued that his right knee was injured by a meal trolley which had come free during take-off.

El Al denied liability and argued that even if the meal trolley had not been properly secured, the plaintiff should bear total liability as he acted contrary to instructions when he stretched his leg out into the aisle and did not sit in an appropriate manner as any reasonable person would have done.

In view of the above and based on Article 21 of the Warsaw Convention, El Al argued for exemption from any liability.

There is no dispute regarding the applicability of the Warsaw Convention to this case. The Israeli Carriage By Air Law applies the convention to this claim, as well as the Hague Protocol since it came into force in Israel in 1964 and the Montreal Protocol since March 2002. Article 17 of the convention sets the carrier’s liability and Article 21 exempts the carrier from liability in the event that the injured party caused the damage or contributed thereto, wholly or partially.


The court reached the conclusion that El Al had been negligent in that the latches of the trolley had not been properly locked by the cabin crew and that this had caused the damage.

The court did not accept El Al’s argument regarding contributory blame on the part of the plaintiff. The judge stated that El Al’s carriage of passenger rules make no mention of proper or improper seating during take-off or landing. Therefore, it was unreasonable to expect passengers to remain seated without moving their legs during the flight when there was no express guidance in this respect.

Further, the court did not accept El Al’s argument that the plaintiff’s field of vision was clear and that he should have noticed the meal trolley approaching rapidly and therefore removed his leg from the aisle.

The plaintiff argued that the meal trolley approached him rapidly from a short distance, hence he had no time to react.

The court ruled that the plaintiff’s explanation was acceptable as a reasonable passenger cannot foresee a meal trolley suddenly falling on his leg.

Based on the above, the court reached the conclusion that Article 21 of the convention did not apply to this case and that El Al was liable based on the provisions set out in Article 17.

The court determined that the plaintiff suffered from 10% functional orthopaedic disability as a result of the accident and ordered payment of IS148,000 ($37,000) plus legal fees by El Al as indemnification to the plaintiff.

This Easter Holiday many passengers will suffer both train- and flight delays

This Easter Holiday many passengers will suffer both train- and flight delays. As flight passenger you have right to assistance as well as economic compensation

Norwegian delay

When suffering flight delays you have according to EU Regulation 261/2004 the right to free phone calls, emails, refreshments, meals and if necessary accomodation and transport to hotel if the flight delay is 2 hours or more at flights up to 1500 km, three hours or more at all longer flights within EU and all other flights between 1500-3500 km and four hours at flights over 3500 km in and out of EU.

If the flight delay is longer than 5 hours and you decide not to continue your journey you are entitled to  a refund of your ticket and to be transported back from where you started your journey.

If you arrive to your destination more than three hours delayed you have right to compensation for flight delay between 250-600 euro, if the airline cannot prove that the delay is caused by extraordinary circumstances and that they have taken all reasonable measures to avoid the delay.


Germanwings flight 4U9525

Everytime a major aviation disaster happens we all get chocked and one wonders why and how can this happen?

At this stage so close after the accident there are so many questions regarding the cause of the accident but I believe, based upon my experience of Aviation disasters, that some type of technical problem has appeared, structural damage, problems with the aircraft’s sensors or something simililar which the cockpit crew has done it’s best to resolve. The radio silence is most probably a sign of what a flight crew would prioritize, always to primarily aviate, then navigate and finally communicate. The retrieved black box will hopefully soon, through the eminent French BEA Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses tell us what happened.


Huge loss for Norwegian. Only the long haul delays during fourth quarter of 2014 cost the company 265 MSEK

Norwegian flight delay

According to Financial Times Norwegian’s Q4 2014 ended with a loss of 1,2 Billion NOK. Only the long haul flight delays of the fourth quarter cost Norwegian 265 MNOK.

The costs of long haul delays that are mentioned in Financial Times are costs for extra lease of Aircrafts and food and board for delayed passengers. What I find interesting is that there is not one word about the passengers right to compensation for flightdelay according to EU Regulation 261/2004.

Interesting I thought so I scrutinized the whole Norwegian Q4 report for 2014. Nowhere could I find anything written about passengers right to compensation for flightdelay. Why I wonder? Could it be possible that all long haul delays plus 3 hours during Q4 of 2014 were caused by extraordinary circumstances? Or has Norwegian actively concealed that information?


Intressant tänkte jag och lusläste Norwegians rapport för Q4 2014. Ingenstans hittar man någonting om passagerarnas rätt till ersättning för flygförsening. Varför undrar jag? Är det möjligt att samtliga förseningar under Q4 2014 orsakats av extraordinära omständigheter?

Travelright starts a collaboration with aviation technical expert Hans-Peter Graf

Travelright has initiated a collaboration with Aviation expert Hans-Peter Graf. 

On my advice Travelright has initiated a cooperation with Aviation expert Hans-Peter Graf.

Hans-Peter is a former SWISS International Air Lines Captain. He is still member of the pilot recruitment and screening department, and a project leader in operational risk analysis and control.

He is an experienced pilot with 31 years in different operations such as airline, short and long haul, charter and executive jet.

 Hans-Peter has served 13 years as investigator in charge at the Swiss Aircraft Accidents Investigation Bureau specialized in flight operation and human factors. He is a ISASI Member.

He has a technical background in aircraft maintenance and performance.


Turbulent year with flight delays and cancelled flights

Some reflections regarding flight delays and cancelled flights



Finally Christmas Eve and time for some Christmas vacation. It has really been a turbulent year. Travelright started their business in February and the number of delayed flight passengers seeking Travelright help has literally exploded since then. I’m very impressed by Travelrights technical platform with IT systems and data bases. Their CEO Peder Nilsson has a clear vision of how Travelright will be present in all EU countries within end of 2015. It will be very exciting to follow their rapid expansion in Europe.

On behalf of Travelright I have issued law suits against almost all airlines flying to and from Sweden and I have settled with all except one, Norwegian.

Why Norwegian has chosen not to follow EU Regulation 261/2004 I don’t know but I do know in the long run they will fail. There is a fortune at stake for Norwegian. Travelright made an estimate that maybe 90.000 of Norwegian’s long haul passengers have demands of 600 euro after suffering flights delays to and from New York, Ft Lauderdale, Oakland , San Francisco, Los Angeles and Bangkok on more than 308 delayed flights from August 2013 to August 2014. The total claim amounts to 50 million euro or approximately one year’s profit before tax for Norwegian. It will be interesting to see how they will deal with this claim in their annual report for 2014. There was not a single word regarding passengers delay claims in their annual report for 2013 which really surprised me. How can they not deal with claims this size and at least comment upon them? Is that even legal?

A lot of other things have happened during 2014. A new English case from the UK Supreme Court Jet2.com vs Ronald Huzar has clarified the ECJ case from 2008, Wallentin Hermann. It has now been established that technical errors not caused by product liability and that the airline did not detect and should not be able to detect are the airline’s responsability. The airlines therefore can no longer defend themselves with technical malfunctions.

The perhaps most well known flight delay case in Sweden, Trued Holmquist vs Norwegian in district Court of Attunda, Stockholm (the Charlotta case) is progressing towards trial in February 2015. Supported by Jet2.com vs Huzar the family in the Charlotta case has motioned for an intermediate verdict based upon the circumstances of the case. Norwegian in their turn has surprisingly motioned for a stay of proceedings awaiting the final outcome of the Dutch case van der Lans in the European Court of Justice. Such a stay would probably delay the Charlotta case for years. I work almost full time with Aviation matters and keep a fairly good track of what is going on in the various national Courts of the EU. I had not even heard of the van der Lans case though. Norwegian has continuously been blaming Boeing for their problems with the Dreamliner. That defense was very weak even before the Jet2.com vs Huzar and now probably totally shot out of the water. So the van der Lans maneouvre made me suspicious. I therefore contacted Travelrights colleagues in Holland, EuClaim. They assist delayed flight passengers in UK and the Netherlands. And Lo and Behold! The van der Lans case was a decision by a single lower Court judge at the Dutch Court Rechtsbank Amsterdam. Not even the judges in the Rechtsbank Amsterdam stayed any cases due to van der Lans. No other Courts in Holland did either, since no one believes that van der Lans will have any effect upon the consequences of the Jet2.com vs Huzar. I have therefore asked the Attunda District Court to disregard van der Lans and immediately  rule in the Charlotta case awarding the Holmquist family their flight delay compensation. Soon to be followed…

The EU Commission already back in 2013 came with an amendement proposal to EU Regulation 261/2004 where they want to write in the right to flight delay compensation into the regulation and at the same time prolong the time limits for right to flight delay compensation from 3 hours to 7, 9 and 12 hours. The proposal har been objected in the EU Parliament and the Council. It remains to be seen what will be final outcome during 2015.

Finally I want to wish all flight passengers, delayed or not,

A Merry Christmas

and a

Happy New Year!