List of Extraordinary Circumstances

The list below is compiled by the enforcement authorities of the European Union to clarify extraordinary circumstances. Please note, this is an example list and not legally recorded. Several judges have already decided against the list in favour of the passenger.

Extraordinary Conditions (Source: ILENT)

1) War & political instability
Unforeseen flight disturbances due to war and/or political instability, which reduces travel to the area concerned

2) War & political instability
When airborne fuel is restricted or unavailable at an airport by war and/or political instability and it was known only a short time in advance

3) Illegal act
These include terrorism or the threat thereof

4) Sabotage
When the aircraft and/or fleet of the airline scheduled for the operation of the flight is affected by sabotage

5) Security
When the airport of departure or arrival is closed due to security precautions without prior notice

6) Security
The finding of a bomb (or explosives) or the threat thereof on board of the airplane, or at the airport of departure or arrival

7) Security
Hijacking of the plane

8) Security
Removing unaccompanied luggage due to serious safety concerns

9) Security
Removing a stubborn passenger who is considered as a threat for fellow passengers and/or crew, resulting in a delay or rerouting of the flight

10) Weather conditions
Weather conditions that prevent a safe operation of the flight. These weather conditions can be forecasted during the route and/or at the airport of departure or arrival

11) Weather conditions
When the airport of departure or arrival is closed due to the weather conditions

12) Weather conditions
When the airport of departure or arrival has limited the capacity of the number of aircraft that land and take off due to the weather conditions

13) Weather conditions
In case of damage to the aircraft caused by lightning strikes, heavy hailstorms, thunderstorms or severe turbulence etc. that may affect the safety of the flight or the airplane and requires an immediate inspection or repair

14) Weather conditions
When the use of unusually high amounts of de-icers becomes necessary due to extreme weather conditions and there is insufficient supply thereof. This may lead to a delay because the airplane cannot be de-iced properly

15) Closing airport
Closing of departure or arrival airport for any reason other than security or weather conditions

16) Medical reasons
When a passenger or crew member becomes seriously ill or dies on board during a flight

17) Birdwatching
When the plane comes into contact with a bird in flight, causing possible damage and an immediate mandatory inspection and possible repair is required

18) Manufacturing error/hidden defect
When a hidden manufacturing error is detected by the airline

19) Unexpected flight safety issues
Damage to the aircraft caused by a third party prior to departure of a flight that requires immediate inspection and/or repair. Example: a collision of a vehicle from the airport and a plane

20) Unexpected flight safety issues
Airplane damage caused by an outside object (FOD), requiring immediate inspection and/or repair of the device.

21) Unexpected flight safety issues
Any technical problem that forces the pilot to return or divert the flight

22) Unexpected flight safety issues
Malfunctioning of the 'air control system' where no problem was detected prior to departure

23) Unexpected flight safety issues
The premature failure of parts that are not yet at the end of their service life (as prescribed in the applicable maintenance instructions, as contained in the approved manual or in the Maintenance Document (MPD) or in the Maintenance Review Board Report (MRBR). before the planned inspection/replacement/removal date of that part is due (if the parts are maintained according to applicable regulations)

24) Unexpected flight safety issues
Failure of parts that do not require scheduled maintenance and should not be replaced during normal operation (for example, a propeller). The premature failure of these components is not predictable during normal operational use and was maintained according to the regulations

25) Unexpected flight safety issues
Failure of required or mandatory aircraft systems immediately before departure or in flight (for example, cooling system, avionics, auto pilot or actuator failure, wing valves, wing-off valves, stirring, radiators, landing gear), if these systems are checked and maintained according to the required maintenance program

26) Unexpected flight safety issues
All other technical defects that occur suddenly before departure or in flight and require inspection or repair before the device is considered as save for use for the planned flight, if the system or component is maintained and checked according to the required maintenance program

27) Unexpected flight safety issues
Smoke, fire or fumes on board of the aircraft, except if the problem arises with a component that is not maintained or failed in accordance with the required procedures because the prescribed operating procedures have not been sufficiently followed

28) Industry-related problems
Strikes that affect the flight performance of the airline, for example a strike of air traffic control

29) Air traffic control
If the air traffic control decides to suspend or restrict flights at the airport of departure or arrival

30) Air traffic control
When the air traffic control decides to restrict or suspend flight operations in an airspace sector where the aircraft must travel to execute the flight

The circumstances below are not exceptional circumstances, but will be subject to review.

31) Technical defects
Technical problems arise due to lack of maintenance by the airline and failure to meet the required maintenance program

32) Technical deficiencies
Technical defects discovered during maintenance, with the relevant component having to be checked according to the maintenance program. Inadequate maintenance may indicate poor maintenance planning

33) Crew outside hours
When this arises from inadequate operational planning by the airline so that flight times are too tight to be considered as reasonable

34) Missing the correct flight documents
By misappropriation in the preparation and submission of the documents required for the performance of the flight, due to circumstances within the control of the airline

35) SAFA inspections of aircraft from other countries
SAFA airplane inspections that detect technical defects and require immediate check and repair (these are defects that should be solved during a normal maintenance program or operation)

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