Core principles for passenger rights regulation

Core principles for passenger rights regulation

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) 69th Annual General Meeting (AGM) unanimously endorsed a set of core principles for governments to consider when adopting consumer protection regulation.

The IATA AGM resolution (pdf) addresses a proliferation of uncoordinated and extra-territorial passenger rights legislation and regulation that is the cause of confusion among passengers. Some 50 countries have passenger rights requirements affecting air transport and several more are considering imposing them.

“Airlines are aligned with governments in wanting to get their passengers to their destinations on time. But sometimes that is just not possible. Governments should set some simple guarantees on what passengers should expect in such situations. But un-harmonized and extra-territorial regulations can cause utter confusion for international travelers. Being stuck in Europe on a disrupted trip from the United States to Israel is bad enough for a passenger. Regulation shouldn’t worsen the situation by presenting them with a bewildering array of three conflicting passenger rights regimes,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

“Governments are turning a blind eye to the problems that they are creating. We want regulators to understand that travelers are our customers. And we want customers to have the best possible experience because our businesses depend on customers coming back. So, industry is providing a fresh solution. These core principles on consumer protection will help governments harmonize their various regimes. And they will be the centerpiece of an industry–wide campaign to help regulators recalibrate their impression of what the air travel experience is, and how it could be even better,” said Tyler.

“What’s needed is a Hippocratic Oath for regulators. The first principle would be to do no harm—intended or unintended. And every regulator should take an oath to solve problems, take full advantage of expert advice, measure costs against benefits and ensure global harmonization. The core principles are a first step,” said Tyler.