Liability for Damage in Case of Bird Strike – a Holistic Approach
19 Pages Posted: 5 May 2020
Date Written: October 15, 2018
This study deals with liability for damage caused by collision of birds and aircraft. Since the biggest number of these collisions occur at airports and their vicinity, airport operators are primarily held responsible for the damage. As in the international private air law there is not any unification instrument to regulate liability for the damage caused by collision of birds and aircraft, airlines will, as a rule, have claims against the airport operator in accordance with provisions of substantive law of the international court of jurisdiction or the substantive law according to conflict-of-law norms of the internationally competent court. Conditions, prices, rights and obligations related to use of airport infrastructure are defined in the General conditions of use of airport. General conditions of use of airport infrastructure may define the highest amount of damages to be paid by the airport operator. Airport operators by General conditions of use of airport infrastructure exonerate liability for the damage caused by negligence and for consequential damages. Provisions of General conditions of use of airport infrastructure must comply with the national legislation of the airport operator's country. European Court of Justice, in case C – 315/15, Peškova case, decided that a bird strike is an extraordinary circumstance, i.e. force majeure. Thus, European Court of Justice took a view of subjective liability for air carrier's damage caused by bird strikes.
Keywords: bird strikes, general conditions of use of airport infrastructure, liability, airport operator, area of liability, indemnity
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