It is well known that BER does not always run smoothly. But now the competent district court is flooded with complaints from travelers.
The district court in Königs Wusterhausen, which is responsible for the capital’s airport BER, is being flooded with lawsuits against airlines. According to the court, there were more than 7,000 flight and travel lawsuits in 2022. According to district court director Stephan Lehmann, the trend is continuing in the current year: Of the total of 2,808 new civil lawsuits, around 90 percent of the cases concern claims by air passengers.
A development that can be observed nationwide. After a temporary lull in the wake of the corona pandemic, courts at the locations of larger airports are again ending up with mass lawsuits against airlines. Compensation is usually required for canceled or delayed flights.
Berlin: Procedures have increased significantly
According to the German Association of Judges, the numbers rose by around 40 percent to more than 70,000 cases in 2022 – with an upward trend. With almost 18,000 cases, the district court in Cologne had the highest volume, according to a survey by the “Deutsche Richterzeitung”, to which the association referred.
The majority of cases are “professionally sued,” said Lehmann. The Association of Judges also sees portals that passengers can use to assert their claims quickly and easily as a key reason for the development. Federal Managing Director Sven Rebehn demanded a remedy from politicians. Many civil courts would be partially blocked by mass proceedings, also on the diesel scandal, or by a flood of uniform consumer lawsuits. More flexible regulations in civil procedural law are needed, stressed Rebehn.
At the Königs Wusterhausen district court, it is now noticeable that the old Berlin Tegel Airport went offline after the opening of BER in Schönefeld. This means that all procedures relating to passenger rights end up in Brandenburg. That was expected – but it occurred with a delay in the course of the corona pandemic. “However, the number of procedures has increased significantly since early summer 2022,” said Lehmann. That is why his court is constantly looking for employees.