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Federal appeals court strikes down New York airline passenger rights law

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Tuesday overturned [opinion, PDF] a New York law requiring airlines to provide passengers on seriously delayed flights with basic amenities, ventilation, and waste removal, holding that federal law preempts state airline regulation. Last August, New York became the first state to pass an Airline Passenger Bill of Rights [text; press release] prompted by delays at Kennedy International Airport that saw passengers held on board without food or water for up to 10 hours. The Air Transport Association of America (ATA) [trade website] challenged the law, arguing that "a patchwork of laws by states and localities would be impractical and harmful to consumer interests." The court ruled that the New York law is preempted by the federal Airline Deregulation Act [49 USC 41713(b)(1) text], which bars state regulation "related to a price, route, or service of an air carrier that may provide air transportation." The ATA praised the decision [press release] as a victory for airlines and passengers. AP has more.

In 2006, the European Court of Justice upheld an air passengers' rights law that requires airlines to pay compensation to passengers [JURIST reports] as well as provide food, lodging or a trip back to the point of departure in the event of long flight delays, overbooking and cancellation on flights to and from the European Union. The International Air Transport Association and the European Low Fares Airline Association [trade websites] had challenged the EU regulation, arguing the law was too costly to implement and some conditions were outside of the airlines' control. The court ruled [text] that the regulation did not violate the Montreal Convention [text] and did not violate the principle of proportionality.

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