CJEU Judgment in easyJet v European Commission regarding alleged anti-competitive conduct

easyJet Airline Co Ltd v European Commission
T-355/13, CJEU, 21 January 2015

Competition — Abuse of a dominant position — Airport services market — Decision rejecting a complaint — Article 13(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 — Case dealt with by a competition authority of a Member State — Rejection of the complaint on priority grounds — Decision of the competition authority drawing conclusions, in competition law, from an investigation conducted under national legislation applicable to the sector in question — Obligation to state reasons

Application for annulment of Commission Decision C(2013) 2727 final of 3 May 2013 rejecting the complaint lodged by the applicant (easyJet) against Luchthaven Schiphol NV in relation to alleged anti-competitive conduct in the airport services market (Case COMP/39.869 — easyJet/Schiphol).

Application dismissed.

For further CJEU case law, see our European Law – Cases page.

CJEU Judgment on how the prices of air services must be displayed in computerised booking systems

Air Berlin plc & Co. Luftverkehrs KG v Bundesverband der Verbraucherzentralen und Verbraucherverbände — Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband e. V.
C-573/13, CJEU, 15 January 2015

Reference for a preliminary ruling — Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008 — Air services — Second sentence of Article 23(1) — Price transparency — Computerised booking system — Air fares — Indication at all times of the final price

Request for a preliminary ruling concerning the interpretation of the second sentence of Article 23(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 September 2008 on common rules for the operation of air services in the Community. The request was made in proceedings between Air Berlin plc & Co. Luftverkehrs KG (‘Air Berlin’), an air carrier, and the Bundesverband der Verbraucherzentralen und Verbraucherverbände — Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband e. V. (Federal Union of Consumer Organisations and Associations; ‘the Bundesverband’) concerning the way in which air fares are presented in the computerised booking system of Air Berlin.

The Bundesgerichtshof (Federal Court of Justice) referred the following questions to the CJEU:
(1) Is the second sentence of Article 23(1) of Regulation No 1008/2008 to be interpreted as meaning that the final price to be paid must, in the context of a computerised booking system, be indicated when the prices of air services are shown for the first time?

(2) Is the second sentence of Article 23(1) of Regulation No 1008/2008 to be interpreted as meaning that the final price to be paid must, in the context of a computerised booking system, be indicated only for the air service specifically selected by the customer or for each air service shown?

The CJEU held:
1. The second sentence of Article 23(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 September 2008 on common rules for the operation of air services in the Community must be interpreted as meaning that, in the context of a computerised booking system such as that at issue in the main proceedings, the final price to be paid must be indicated whenever the prices of air services are shown, including when they are shown for the first time.

2. The second sentence of Article 23(1) of Regulation No 1008/2008 must be interpreted as meaning that, in the context of a computerised booking system such as that at issue in the main proceedings, the final price to be paid must be indicated not only for the air service specifically selected by the customer, but also for each air service in respect of which the fare is shown.

For further CJEU case law, see our European Law – Cases page.

CJEU Judgment on the commercial use of data by PR Aviation BV from Ryanair’s website

Ryanair Ltd v PR Aviation BV
C-30/14, CJEU, 15 January 2015

Reference for a preliminary ruling — Directive 96/9/EC — Legal protection of databases — Database not protected by copyright or the sui generis right — Contractual limitation on the rights of users of the database

Request for a preliminary ruling in proceedings between Ryanair Ltd (‘Ryanair’) and PR Aviation BV (‘PR Aviation’) concerning the use by the latter, for commercial purposes, of data from Ryanair’s website.

The CJEU held:
Directive 96/9/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 1996 on the legal protection of databases must be interpreted as meaning that it is not applicable to a database which is not protected either by copyright or by the sui generis right under that directive, so that Articles 6(1), 8 and 15 of that directive do not preclude the author of such a database from laying down contractual limitations on its use by third parties, without prejudice to the applicable national law.

For further CJEU case law, see our European Law – Cases page.

CJEU Judgment on the meaning of State Aid in Article 107(1) TFEU

Ryanair v Commission
T-512/11, CJEU, 25 November 2014

State aid — Aviation sector — Irish air travel tax — Exemption for transit and transfer passengers — Decision finding no State aid — Failure to open the formal investigation procedure — Serious difficulties — Procedural rights of parties concerned

Application for annulment in part of Commission Decision C(2011) 4932 final of 13 July 2011 in so far as it finds that the non-application of the Irish air travel tax to transit and transfer passengers does not constitute State aid within the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU (State aid SA.29064 (2011C ex 2011/NN)).

Commission Decision annulled.

For further CJEU case law, see our European Law – Cases page.

CJEU Judgment on the compatibility of national law with Regulation No 1008/2008 in respect of ticket fares and checked in luggage

Vueling Airlines v Instituto Galego de Consumo de la Xunta de Galicia
C-487/12, CJEU, 18 September 2014

Reference for a preliminary ruling – Air Transport – Common rules for the operation of air services in the European Union – Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008 – Pricing freedom – Checking in baggage – Price supplement – Concept of ‘air fares’ – Consumer protection – Imposition of a fine on an air carrier for an unfair contract term – National law requiring the carriage of passenger and checked-in baggage to be included in the base price of a plane ticket – Whether compatible with EU law

The request for a preliminary ruling concerned the interpretation of Article 22(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008 on common rules for the operation of air services in the Community.

Article 22 provides ‘…Community air carriers and, on the basis of reciprocity, air carriers of third countries shall freely set air fares and air rates for intra-Community air services.’

Article 97 of Law 48/1960 on air navigation (Spanish law) provides ‘‘As part of the price of the ticket, the carrier is required to carry passengers and their baggage, subject to weight limits established by regulation, irrespective of the number of items and their size.

Separate provisions shall govern excess baggage.

For these purposes, baggage does not include objects and items of hand baggage carried by passengers themselves. The carrier is required to carry free of charge in the cabin, as hand baggage, objects and items carried by passengers themselves, including items purchased in airport shops. The carrier may refuse to allow such objects and items on board only on grounds of security, weight or size of the object in relation to the characteristics of the aircraft.’

The following question was referred to the CJEU:
‘Is Article 22(1) of [Regulation No 1008/2008] to be interpreted as precluding a national rule (Article 97 of Law 48/1960) that requires passenger airlines to grant passengers the right always to check in a suitcase without paying a supplement or surcharge on top of the base price of the ticket purchased?’

The CJEU held that:
Article 22(1) of Regulation No 1008/2008 must be interpreted as precluding a national law that requires air carriers to carry, in all circumstances, not only the passenger, but also baggage checked in by him, provided that the baggage complies with certain requirements as regards, in particular, its weight, for the price of the plane ticket and without it being possible to charge any price supplement to carry such baggage.

For further CJEU case law, see our European Law – Cases page.