Legal Update: Aviation - 2017
by Shirly Kazir
Published: February, 2017
Submission: July, 2017
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The Ministry of Transport National Infrastructures and Road Safety published a notice regarding a revision to the penalty amounts set out in the Aviation Services Law. Revisions were under the (Compensation and Assistance for Flight Cancellation or Change of Conditions), 5772 - 2012 (the "Law") and the Aviation Services Regulations (Compensation and Assistance for Flight Cancellation or Change of Conditions) (Domestic Flights) 5773-2013 (the "Regulations"). Among other matters, the amounts set out in the First Schedule were revised as follows:
Flight distance up to 2,000 km - NIS 1,280
Flight distance up to 4,500 km - NIS 2,050
Flight distance above 4,500 km - NIS 3,070
The revision came into force on January 1, 2017 (Please note that the amounts set out in the Third Schedule of the Law were also revised).
Proposed Amendment to the Consumer Protection Law (Amendment - A dealer who is not a supplier) 5777-2016
In the previous update, we described the bill that the Knesset was considering. On January 4, 2017, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved passing the proposed amendment to the Consumer Protection Law (Amendment – A dealer who is not a supplier) 5777-2016 (hereinafter: the “Bill“) to the Knesset Finance Committee for preparation for its first reading. The Bill is a private members bill regarding amendments to Articles 14C and 14F of the Consumer Protection Law 5741-1981 (hereinafter: the “Consumer Protection Law”) which deal with the cancellation of a transaction.
The bill proposes to establish that for transactions in the fields of hospitality, travel and tourism with an Israeli dealer who is serving as an agent and the service provider is not Israeli, and the service is provided entirely outside of Israel, the provisions in the Law on the cancellation of transactions shall not apply.
Pursuant to the Bill, the cancellation conditions and the cancellation fee shall be in accordance with the service provider’s cancellation conditions but only if the dealer has informed the consumer on the cancellation conditions of the service provider prior to entering the transaction.
Expedited Civil Action (Magistrates Court Krayot) 63592-01-15 Shoshana Huberman v. El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (published in the Nevo Law Repository, December 25, 2016)
In December 2016, the Magistrates Court in the Krayot (the Honorable Senior Registrar Nadim Morani) granted the claim in part in the framework of 63592-01-15 Shoshana Huberman v. El Al Israel Airlines Ltd.
The Plaintiffs, a couple in their seventies who purchased business class flight tickets from Israel to Las Vegas filed a monetary claim against El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (hereinafter: “El Al“) for breach of contract and negligence.
In their claim, the couple argues that when they purchased their tickets from El Al they were promised business class seats in the second row – far from the kitchen and washrooms. They also argued that the mechanism of one of the seats assigned to them broke, which resulted in the seat remaining in a reclining position. The staff attempted to fix the problem and the seat was slightly lifted upright but the mechanism remained broken. Furthermore, they claimed that three hours before landing, the air conditioning above the working seat began to drip which resulted in the seat becoming unusable. In addition, the Plaintiffs argued that they suffered physical harm, anguish and loss of enjoyment.
The Court accepted the Plaintiffs’ argument that the Plaintiffs’ seat broke during the flight and it remained damaged until the end of the flight and as a result she did not enjoy the flight for which she paid. In addition, the Plaintiffs’ argument according to which prior to the aircraft’s landing, there was a light dripping which bore on the flight but did not prevent them from using the seats. The Plaintiffs’ argument that they were promised seats in the second row was rejected as the Plaintiffs did not satisfy the burden of proof. The argument that they were caused physical harm, anguish and loss of enjoyment was also rejected with the Court establishing that this was an exaggeration. The Court awarded the Plaintiffs NIS 18,000 in damages.
Leave for Appeal – Family (District Court Jerusalem) 71222-09-16 John Doe v. John Doe (published in the Nevo Law Repository, December 26, 2016)
In many cases, airlines establish in their contracts of carriage that disputes between the customer and the company shall be subject to a foreign law which is not the law of the State of Israel. Therefore, we believe that the case described below may be relevant for you.
In December 2016, the District Court in Jerusalem, in its capacity as the civil appeals court, granted an appeal on the question of interpreting the inheritance law of Venezuela. In the decision, the deputy chief justice established that the foreign law should be perceived as a factual matter that needs to be proved by experts. The deputy chief justice established that in the matter of Leave for Appeal – Family (District Court Jerusalem) 71222-09-16 John Doe v. John Doe, the two expert opinions on the interpretation of the foreign law that were submitted had the same weight. Noting the above, since the burden of proof lies on the plaintiff which argues for the application of foreign law on the matter, the honorable court established that the plaintiff’s argument shall be accepted and the Israeli law shall apply.
Bock v. Air France (C-432/06) and Sturgeon v. Condor (C-402/07)
We wish to draw your attention to a decision recently rendered in Switzerland according to which the unified matter of Bock v. Air France (C-432/06) and Sturgeon v. Condor (C-402/07) (hereinafter: “Sturgeon“) does not bind the Swiss Courts.
In 2016, the District “Bulach” Court in Switzerland (hereinafter: the “Court“) held that the Swiss Sturgeon case was not binding. This was established despite the fact that Switzerland had adopted the European Regulation 261/2004 which defines the rules for compensation and assistance for passengers in the following cases: denied boarding, cancellation of a flight and a long flight delay; Regulation (EC) no. 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights, and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 295/91 (hereinafter: “European Regulation No. 261/2004“) by force of The 1999 EU-Switzerland Air Transport Agreement.
The Court’s decision is based on a distinction made between decisions rendered following the adoption of the European Regulation No. 261/2004 and those rendered before its adoption. In light of the above mentioned, the Court held that passengers whose flight was delayed will be entitled to receive only the assistance services described in Articles 8 and 9 of the European Regulation No. 261/2004; meaning – communications services, food and drinks, hotel accommodation, transportation between the hotel and the airport and the receipt of a refund or an alternative flight, according to the conditions set out in the regulation (but not financial compensation).
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