A major step forward in a case against AirBaltic and RIX

Advocate General Michal Bobek confirmed our client’s right to claim damages from AirBaltic in Lithuania (C-27/17). The bankrupt national air carriage company flyLAL claims for damages (over 57.4 million EUR) caused by Air Baltic Corporation and Riga International Airport.

The Court of Appeal has issued a procedural decision to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union in order to answer the question of whether Lithuanian Courts have jurisdiction (under Brussels I Regulation) in the case at hand.

The Advocate General noted the especially complex factual basis of the claim, i. e. Air Baltic Corporation had entered into anticompetitive agreements with Riga International Airport, to engage in predatory pricing and anticompetitive strategies against flyLAL. Despite the factual and legal complexity, Michal Bobek confirmed that the “damage” under Brussels I occurred in Vilnius, Lithuania, consequently, offering the CJEU to uphold the jurisdiction of Lithuanian court to hear the dispute.

In 2016, Vilnius regional court upheld flyLAL’s claim and ordered the respondent Air Baltic Corporation to pay flyLAL 16,121,094 EUR in damages and procedural interest. The court issued a decision of more than 90 pages, underlining the complexity of the case, specifically the first of its kind violation of TFEU articles 101 and 102 and the Lithuania’s competition law by the respondents. The case has the potential of setting precedents in the jurisprudence related to various perspectives of private competition enforcement.

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