Passenger compensation for airline failure

By | Category: Travel rumblings
Image of a Monarch plane

When Monarch went bust, the UK repatriated passengers although there is no legislation to say they should

In the last quarter of 2017, three major airlines in Europe went bust; Air Berlin, Monarch and NIKI (the airline started by the racing driver Niki Lauda which has just been bought from the receivers by the parent company of BA, Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling, IAG.

In each case, under EU law there was no protection for those who had just bought an airline seat. In the UK, the government decided to pay the cost of repatriating all Monarch affected passengers but there was no legal requirement for them to do so.

Now the European Travel Agents and Tour Operators Association (ECTAA) has called upon the EU Commission to introduce legislation giving protection to airline passengers, They want a mandatory charge placed on each and every air ticket, the money from which would protect passengers against airline failure. Ideally, says ECTAA, it would cover all airline tickets sold to EU passengers regardless of whether the airline was based in the EU or elsewhere.

The mechanics of such a protective policy would be fairly easy to design since it is largely what we know as ATOL. There a levy is placed on each package holiday sold by an ATOL bonded operator and the money is used if or when an ATOL bonded company goes bust. Even if an airline is based on the USA or China it should still be possible for a system to operate.

At present all airlines flying into and out of EU countries are regulated by EU261 in the case of providing compensation for late or cancelled flights so a bonding regulation where they pass a percentage of a ticket price to a central body should be no problem.

The time has come for air passengers to be treated like those who buy holidays and for them to be provided with protection. Now that ECTAA has spoken up other travel bodies should follow their lead.

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