Airlines attack compensation ruling

10th Jan 2006

The European Low Fares Airline Association (ELFAA) has lost its appeal against the regulation on flier compensation in cases of cancellations and flight delays.

According to ELFAA, The Regulation, which limits customer choice, also does nothing to ameliorate delays and cancellations in air transport, as the vast majority of these are beyond the control of the airlines.
Under the Regulation, low fares airlines must pay compensation and ‘assistance’ that is often several times the amount of the fare paid by the consumer.
According to ELFAA, low fares airlines at a particular competitive disadvantage since the legislation does not apply equally to competing forms of transport such as rail and ferries and compensation levels are not related to the fare paid.
ELFAA’s Secretary General, Jan Skeels, said: _"We fully support passenger rights legislation which makes sense. However, it is very disappointing that the Court has failed to overturn what is clearly a bad piece of legislation that does nothing for consumers and seriously undermines the competitiveness of the European air transport industry”.
Although overbooking of flights is a commercial practice of some airlines which should rightly be punished, delays and cancellations are usually beyond the control of the airlines and this legislation only makes the problem worse by creating the expectation among passengers that they are entitled to ridiculous amounts of compensation.

EasyJet, a member of ELFAA has called on the European Commission to immediately review its new rules on passenger compensation with a view to amending the legislation in order to make it workable and fair on airlines

Toby Nicol, easyJet Director of Communications, said: ‘‘I simply do not understand why easyJet should pay €250/£172 in financial compensation when our passengers pay on average €60/£42 or why easyJet should pay for hotels when a Government decides to close airspace for a big event. The majority of delays are due to air traffic control, something the EU actually governs and yet airlines cannot seek any form of compensation for the poor performance of Eurocontrol.

“The European Commission is trigger happy to penalise low-fares airlines when it turns a blind eye to the billions of euros that go into carriers like Alitalia or Olympic Airlines. Meanwhile, tube and rail operators have no such obligations whilst more billions keep pouring into their infrastructure. I hope passengers appreciate the nonsense that this situation represents for easyJet.’‘



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