Draft list of extraordinary circumstances

On 12 April 2013, the National Enforcement Bodies responsible with the implementation of the Regulation (EC) 261/2004 met and composed a non-exhaustive and non-binding list of extraordinary circumstances. However, this list does not necessarily reflect the position of all NEB’s and it has not been adopted or in any way approved by the European Commission.

In order for an event to be considered an extraordinary circumstance, it has to meet three criteria: it has to be unpredictable, unavoidable and external.

Whilst each of the circumstances listed below is likely to constitute extraordinary circumstances for the purpose of the Regulation, national enforcement bodies are required to examine each individual case to determine whether distinguishing factors exist.

It is very important to keep in mind that in each of the following examples, the air carrier must provide proof of the circumstances alleged and it must also clearly demonstrate how these circumstances resulted in the flight disruption. After demonstrating the existence of extraordinary circumstances, the air carrier must also explain what reasonable measures it took to subsequently avoid the disruption. Every incident needs to be evaluated in the context of the category to which it relates.

NumberCategoryIncident
1War/ Political InstabilityUnforeseen disruption arising from war & political instability of any kind where travel is not recommended.
2War/ Political InstabilityWhere the supply of aircraft fuel is limited or unavailable at short notice and without pre-notification.
3Unlawful actUnlawful acts (for example terrorism).
4SabotageActs of sabotage to the aircraft scheduled to operate the flight or the air carrier�s fleet.
5SecurityClosure of the airport of departure or the airport of arrival without pre-notification for security reasons.
6SecurityBomb discovery or bomb scare either on board the aircraft or at the airport of departure or the airport of arrival.
7SecurityHi-jacking of the aircraft.
8SecurityRemoval of unaccompanied baggage due to a serious security concern.
9SecurityRemoval of an unruly passenger from the aircraft for security reasons - thereby causing either a flight delay or diversion.
10MeteorologicalWeather conditions incompatible with the safe operation of the flight. These weather conditions may be forecast to arise at either the airport of departure, the airport of arrival or along the intended flight path of the aircraft.
11MeteorologicalClosure of either the airport of departure or the airport of arrival due to meteorological conditions.
12MeteorologicalWeather conditions resulting in capacity restrictions at either the airport of arrival or the airport of departure.
13MeteorologicalDamage to the aircraft which could affect the safety of the flight or the integrity of the aircraft and requires immediate assessment and/or repair and caused by other meteorological events (for example: lightning strikes, hailstones, thunderstorms, severe turbulence etc.).
14Meteorological / De-icingExtreme weather conditions which result in the elevated consumption and subsequent exhaustion of what would usually constitute ample de-icing stocks due to third party supply failures � with the result that the aircraft cannot be de-iced for departure.
15Airport ClosureClosure of either the airport of arrival or the airport of departure for non-security and non-meteorological reasons.
16Medical GroundsPassenger or crew member becomes seriously ill or dies on-board or during the flight.
17Bird-strikesBird-strikes to the aircraft during a flight which might cause damage which requires immediate compulsory checks and possible repair.
18Manufacturing DefectsDiscovery of a hidden manufacturing defect by the air carrier (this is often noted by unusual failure of the same aircraft part.
19Unexpected flight safety shortcomingsDamage to the aircraft primary or secondary structure (e.g. metallic or composite structure) caused by third parties on the ground prior to the departure of a flight and requiring immediate assessment and/or repair. For example a collision between an airport vehicle and an aircraft.
20Unexpected flight safety shortcomingsIn-flight damage to the aircraft during the preceding flight, caused by a foreign-object, and which requires immediate assessment and/or repair.
21Unexpected flight safety shortcomingsAny technical issues which cause the pilot to carry out an aircraft turnaround or diversion.
22Unexpected flight safety shortcomingsFailure of the bleed-air system/environmental control system on an aircraft (which had been properly maintained) either immediately prior to departure or in-flight.
23Unexpected flight safety shortcomingsPremature failure of life-limited parts (as referenced in applicable maintenance data, contained within the aircraft maintenance manual, or Maintenance Planning Document (MPD), or Maintenance Review Board Report (MRBR)) prior to their scheduled inspection/removal/retirement date (where those parts had been maintained in accordance with the required maintenance programme).
24Unexpected flight safety shortcomingsFailure of on-condition / condition monitored parts i.e. parts which should not require unscheduled maintenance or replacement during normal operational service (for example propeller oil-temperature gauges. The premature failure of these parts during normal operational service when maintained in accordance with the maintenance programme is unpredictable).
25Unexpected flight safety shortcomingsFailure of necessary or required aircraft systems (for example the cooling system, avionics system, flight control system, flaps, slats, rudders, thrust reverser, landing gear) either immediately prior to departure or in-flight (where those systems had been maintained in accordance with the required maintenance programme).
26Unexpected flight safety shortcomingsAny other technical defects which become apparent immediately prior to departure or in-flight (where the system or part had been maintained in accordance with the required maintenance programme) and which require investigation and/or repair before the aircraft is airworthy for the intended flight.
27Unexpected flight safety shortcomingsSmoke, fire or fumes on board the aircraft unless the problem has been caused by a part not being maintained in accordance with the required maintenance programme or due to a failure to follow appropriate operational procedures.
28Industrial relations issuesStrikes that affect the operation of an air carrier. For example strikes undertaken by Air Traffic Control.
29Air Traffic ManagementWhere Air Traffic Control suspends or restricts operations out of the airport of departure or into the airport of arrival.
30Air Traffic ManagementWhere Air Traffic Control suspends or restricts operations into or out of a block of air-space through which the air carrier must travel in order to operate the flight.

Source: www.cca.co.uk