Brussels – The European Low Fares Airline Association (ELFAA) haswelcomed the European Commission’s decision to clarify the rules governing air passenger rights. Successive interpretations by the courts of the poorly-worded existing Regulation 261/2004 have progressively eroded any balance between detriment to the minority of consumers, affected by flight irregularities, and the burden on airlines, which necessarily results in increased air fares for all passengers.
An important improvement is the further clarification of the concept of extraordinary circumstances.
While the Commission’s proposal seeks to go some way to restoring this vital balance, it falls short of establishing the level playing field, advocated in the Commission’s own Explanatory Memorandum of “ensuring that air carriers operate under harmonised conditions in a liberalized market”.
To achieve this vital goal ELFAA recommends the proposal be modified to ensure that financial compensation, where payable, is proportionate to the fare paid, as with other transport modes.
ELFAA also believes there should be further alignment between the EU Regulations covering other transport modes by, for example, removing the obligation to provide hotel accommodation for disrupted domestic flights.
While airlines should be required to arrange care for passengers, affected by disruption, the revised Regulation itself should grant airlines the explicit right of recovery from third parties, responsible for the disruption e.g striking Air Traffic controllers or airports, insufficiently prepared for winter weather.
John Hanlon, Secretary General of ELFAA summarised: “The Commission’s proposal is a step in the right direction but there is more to be done to remove the disparities between EC Regulations covering air transport and other modes, with which air transport competes.”
Notes to the editor:
ELFAA represents the fastest-growing European airline sector. Its members carry over 200 million passengers a year and account for over 43% of scheduled intra-European traffic.
Today, ELFAA comprises 10 airline members which include: easyJet, Flybe, Jet2.com, Norwegian, Ryanair, SverigeFlyg, transavia.com, Volotea, vueling and Wizz Air.
ELFAA’s primary objective is to ensure that European policy and legislation promote free and equal competition to enable the continued growth and development of low fares into the future, thereby allowing a greater number of people to travel by air.
For further information, please contact:
ELFAA Press Office - Grayling
T. +32 (0) 2 50 49 001