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An apparently unremarkable Court of Cassation ruling, in a case relating to yachts and recreational boats, may have refined the concept of aviation insurance. The ruling could be interpreted as meaning that insurance which covers risks that are not clearly aviation risks, despite being related to aviation to some extent, are subject to the Land Insurance Act 1992, which is favourable to consumers and insureds.
Two inconsistent sets of rules apply to aircraft noise at Brussels Airport. Recent rulings by the Constitutional Court and the Court of Justice of the European Union have moved the dispute over aircraft noise infringements closer to a final decision by the Council of State, attracting interest in Belgium and abroad.
The Constitutional Court has rejected a decree whereby the Flemish region sought to implement the EU Aviation Emissions Trading Scheme Directive. Although the regions have competence because the directive concerns environmental protection, the court disagreed with the criteria for attributing emissions to the Flemish region. The federal and regional authorities must now reach an agreement on implementation.
The Constitutional Court has ruled on a challenge by the consumer association Test-Achats to a provision in Brussels Airlines' general conditions of carriage. The case related to a customer's right to transfer a ticket. The court noted the differential treatment between air carriers and travel intermediaries in respect of prohibitions on ticket transfer, but held that the difference could be reasonably justified.
One of the main objectives of the EU Denied Boarding Regulation is to ensure that air carriers operate under harmonised conditions in a liberalised market. However, some aspects of carrier liability are not covered by the regulation. A Belgian court recently considered the question of the applicable limitation period for actions governed by the regulation.
The consumer association Test-Achats recently claimed that the websites and contractual conditions of three airlines - Brussels Airlines, Ryanair and EasyJet - were incompatible with Belgium's fair trading legislation. The Namur Commercial Court's judgments on a range of issues are controversial and, in places, betray a lack of understanding of industry practice; however, they are highly significant for the sector.
Passengers have begun to refer to the ruling in Sturgeon by the European Court of Justice while complaining on the basis of the EU Denied Boarding Regulation. This raises new issues for airlines, which are already facing difficult times. Some passengers have started to claim compensation for long delays, while other significant developments relate to the definition of the term 'cancellation'.