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Introduction

The International Air Carrier Association (IACA) represents 30 airlines that operate various business models to cater for different demands in the travel market, including low-cost, seat-only and tour operator traffic. Their common feature is efficiency in terms of fleet utilisation and load factor.

IACA airline members welcome the initiative of the European legislator to re-establish a clear legal framework for the right of passengers travelling by air. Both passengers and airlines have a mutual interest in transparent and unchallengeable EU rules that apply in case of cancellations, delays and denied boarding.

IACA believes that the outcome of the co-decision process should achieve the best possible balance between the protection of the interests of passengers and those of the airline sector.

Passengers are better protected

The Commission’s proposal takes better care of the needs of passengers at the airport in case of flight disruptions including:

o       drinks, meals, etc … for all passengers  after two hours of waiting.

o       care for tarmac delays.

o       better information on their situation.

o       contingency plans in place in case of massive disruption.

o       more legal certainty which should eliminate unnecessary discussions at check-in or when boarding.

As a result, passengers will benefit from significant new or improved rights:  

o       compensation in case of delays.

o       the possibility to correct booking errors.

o       consistency throughout the EU due to a better coordination between National Enforcement Bodies (NEBs).

o       a more transparent and accessible claim procedure.

In return, airlines expect that these new rights do not come at a disproportionate financial cost to them.

Joint airline industry position

IACA has subscribed to a set of proposed amendments, jointly drafted with IATA, ERA, ELFAA and AEA.

IACA position

In particular, IACA airline members wish to highlight three issues that they consider as key priorities for their business model:

1.      legal clarity: unambiguous terms in the Annex for extraordinary circumstances.

2.      a reasonable and easily understandable trigger points’ structure for delay compensation.

3.      an acknowledgement that airlines must optimise the use of their fleet and that  reactionary (sequential) delays should therefore be taken into account in the exemptions to pay out compensation. Indeed, a flight irregularity often creates knock-on effects, i.e. impacts more than one aircraft rotation.