European airlines say ruling undercuts safety


Airlines say a European Court of Justice ruling that stipulates passengers must be compensated for flights canceled because of technical difficulties undermines safety, the European Regional Airline Association said.

In a case involving Alitalia SpA, the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg said last week that technical issues found during aircraft maintenance don’t constitute extraordinary circumstances that would allow airlines to avoid paying passengers compensation for canceled flights.

The European Regional Airline Association, which represents about 60 airlines and 40 airports in Europe, said the ruling gives passenger rights a higher priority than air safety, according to a statement posted on its Web site.