Civil Liability of Air Carriers in Cape Verde for Flight Delays
With the end of World War II, the use of Air Transport intensified and is currently considered one of the safest and most used means of transport worldwide. It should be noted that Aircraft travel has conquered its space in the means of transport market for the simple fact that aviation considerably reduces the travel time for arrival at any destination.
Consequently, in recent decades, air travel in Cape Verde, both national and international, has intensified, with direct and positive effects on the country’s economy.
Despite the achievements provided by air transport, there are still countless situations that passengers have faced in air travel, the vast majority likely to cause them damages in the patrimonial rather than patrimonial sphere.
Of the numerous situations relating to air travel, there is no doubt that flight delays, particularly in the departure of scheduled flights, with long waiting periods at airports, as well as arrival delays in relation to the scheduled day and time, lead the way. Complaints chart.
In order to standardize the rules of aeronautical law and its vicissitudes, the Government of Cape Verde adhered to the Convention for the unification of certain rules relating to International Air Transport of 1999, through Resolution No. 103/VII/2004, 21st of June.
And, later in 2006, in view of the growing problem of flight delays combined with the serious setbacks and inconveniences that passengers had been suffering, the Legislator, through Decree-Law no. 35/2006 of 26 June, established a set of rules, firstly, to strengthen the rights of passengers, in particular the rights in case of flight delays, and secondly, to ensure that air carriers operate in a harmonized way in the market.
In this sense, Decree-Law No. 35/2006 of June 26, applies to any operating air carrier that offers passenger transport, i) who board at an airport located in the national territory; or ii) boarding at an airport outside the national territory destined for the latter, if the air carrier operated on the flight in question is a national carrier;
In which situations can passengers invoke the status assigned to them by Decree-Law No. 35/2006 of 26 June?
Since, the passenger air transport contract constitutes a consensual and bilateral contract, whenever the operating air carrier breaches the contract – infringing the rights of passengers enshrined in the terms of the aforementioned Decree-Law, namely, denied boarding, cancellation and flight delay, the status of the passengers concerned can be invoked immediately.
If flights are delayed, what rights do passengers have?
In the event of a scheduled flight delay, or the carrier foreseeing this possibility, it is responsible for informing the passengers, through the available means of communication, reporting the reason for the delay, as well as the updated departure forecast. It is the passenger’s right to demand that such information be provided by the carrier not only verbally but also in writing.
Whenever the operating air carrier has reasonable reasons or can predict that, in relation to its scheduled departure time, a flight will be delayed by two hours or more, or a delay of the same period occurs, it is obliged to offer assistance to passengers free of charge:
- Meals and non-alcoholic beverages in reasonable proportion to the waiting time;
- Two telephone calls, telexes, fax messages or email messages;
When the departure time is at least the day after the previously announced departure time, in case there is a need for an overnight stay or additional stay, the carrier is obliged to offer assistance to passengers free of charge.
- Hotel accommodation;
- And, transport between the airport and the place of accommodation (hotel or other);
However, when the delay is at least four hours, the air carrier must reimburse, within seven working days, the total purchase price of the ticket, for the part or parts of the trip not taken, and for the part or parts of the journey already taken if the flight is no longer justified in relation to the initial travel plan, cumulatively, where justified, a return flight to the first departure point;
What to do if the operating air carrier does not comply with the contract and the right to assistance to passengers?
Verifying the above non-compliance, injured passengers have the power to file a complaint with the Aeronautical Authority, or any other competent body, regarding violations of the provisions of Decree-Law no. 35/2006, of June 21, which occurred on any airport located in the national territory or on any flight from a third country to an airport located in the national territory.
Can passengers whose flights have been delayed bring an action for damages?
However, the assistance provided by the air carrier in the event of flight delays and the filing of the complaint with the Aeronautical Authority, nothing prevents passengers from bringing an action for damages before the competent court, claiming compensation for the damage to property and non-property that may eventually have suffered as a result of flight delays.
The passenger air transport contract proves to be a complete and often unpredictable universe whose vicissitudes of this market and the protection of passengers’ rights constitute permanent challenges.
In short, the delay of flights, which results in the delay of the carrier in the execution of the passenger air transport contract, constitutes a breach of the contract and, consequently, implies the responsibility of the carrier to the passenger, under the terms provided for in the Decree-Law and in the Montreal Convention.