Court: No payout for bird strike passengers

Passengers will not be compensated by airlines for delays caused by bird strikes, Germany’s top court ruled on Tuesday.

Court: No payout for bird strike passengers
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe said that bird strikes qualified as “extraordinary circumstances” which meant airlines do not have to pay compensation to passengers.

The court was deciding on the cases of two tourists who were stuck in Gambia in Africa and in Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands because birds got into the jet engines of their planes.

In Fuerteventura take-off had to be cancelled and the passenger was flown to Hamburg instead of Hannover, arriving home a day late.

In Gambia the engine of the plane was damaged so badly on landing by a bird strike that the return flight was cancelled. A new plane had to brought over from Europe which took several hours. The court sent that case back to the district court to clear up details.

Judge Peter Meier-Beck said airlines could not be expected to hold spare planes at every airport in case of a bird strike and added they could not be held responsible for delays.

Bird strikes happen to planes every day and damage is estimated at a billion US dollars a year.

Two cases are reported in Germany each day and most are harmless, but if birds get into the plane’s engine it can be dangerous.

There is even a society in Germany to protect birds from air traffic. They predict bird migrations and warn airlines where they expect the flock of birds to be.

READ MORE: Lufthansa splashes out €14 billion on new fleet

DPA/The Local/tsb

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Could sleeper trains offer Germans cheap, low-carbon travel across Europe?

Several political parties in Germany have said they want to bring back sleeper trains in order to meet carbon emissions targets.

Could sleeper trains offer Germans cheap, low-carbon travel across Europe?
A sleeper train in Austria. Photo: dpa/APA | Georg Hochmuth

The Green party have said that they want to put state subsidies into night trains that will connect Germany with cities as far flung as St Petersburg in the north and Lisbon in the south.

According to the environmentalist party’s plans, 40 night rail lines could connect 200 destinations across the continent including islands like Mallorca, which would be linked in by train and ferry.

The Greens want the EU to buy a fleet of sleeper trains that could travel at speeds of between 200 km/h and 250 km/h.

The CDU have also announced plans to rebuild the country’s sleeper train services.

Deutsche Bahn stopped its last sleeper service in 2016 citing the high costs involved in maintaining its fleet that was not recuperated through ticket sales.

Earlier this year the state owned company said it had “no plans” to purchase new sleeper wagons.