Royal Air Maroc’s losses, brought on by a pilot strike, are predicted to reach record numbers after the European Court of Justice issued a ruling stating that transit destinations should be covered under the EU compensation law.
The Morocco-based carrier had reportedly cancelled over 20 flights last week while several others had been delayed due to the ongoing strikes by pilots. As far as the European Transports Law is concerned, travellers delayed for 3 hours or more beyond the set departure time are eligible for compensation, which is to be paid by the airline company operating the flight.
The rule, which has been put in place by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), doesn’t only cover European airline operators or flights within Europe. It also includes foreign carriers that depart or fly into a European airport.
The compensation value per passenger is typically set at €250 for short haul flights, €400 for mid-distance flights, and €600 for long-haul flights. That’s 1500 kilometres or less, 1500-3500 kilometres, and over 3500 kilometres, respectively.
Cause for strikes
Pilots working for Royal Air Maroc called for a general strike in early July. Their demands included better working conditions, a hike in wages, health insurance coverage, and more off days. The strikes have had a massive financial impact on the national carrier, thanks to the multiple delays and cancellations that have been occurring since July 18th.
Things only became worse last week. A majority of the carrier’s cancelled flights were all headed to or leaving from a European airport. If the company doesn’t find a way to come to an agreement with the pilots soon enough, it will end up facing a far worse situation than it already is.
Not the first time
Royal Air Maroc is more than aware of the European aviation regulations and the consequences of failing to comply with them. Not too long ago, it has lost to a passenger named Claudia Wegener from Germany. Wegener had booked a flight to Agadir from Berlin with a stopover at Casablanca.
However, when she arrived at Casablanca, her flight was delayed for over three hours. She was then forced to board another aircraft operated by Royal Air Maroc, which arrived at Agadir 4 hours later than the actual arrival time.
Naturally, Wegener took up the issue with Royal Air Maroc and sent in her request for compensation, which she was clearly eligible for. But, Royal Air Maroc refused to entertain her request and cited that the Casablanca-Agadir route did not fall under European territory. Wegener was, of course, forced to take her case to the court.
Eventually, she won the case after the European Court of Justice ruled that compensation was due to her. The court mentioned that Wegener had booked a single ticket, which clearly mentioned the route as Berlin-Casablanca-Agadir. As far as the regulations go, if the ticket includes a European airport, the airline will have to provide compensation when and if there is a delay.