Proposals to revise Europe’s protection for air passengers have met a mixed response from carriers, which find “worrying aspects” such as heightened risks for feeder operators.
In a revamp of passenger rights announced on March 13, the EU is aiming to clear up the concerns of both airlines and travellers. But the initial response from European carriers is that the overhaul could hit them hard amid an economic slump. Europe’s 261 regulation, introduced in 2005, is being revised after the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull volcano in April 2010 spotlighted the issue of compensation for stranded passengers. In January, a court ruling against Ryanair revealed how heavily current rules expose airlines to claims when travel is disrupted. The overhaul, due in force in early 2015, addresses this concern by capping compensation at three nights’ hotel accommodation. Yet the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) also sees “worrying aspects” in the proposed regime, said director general Simon McNamara. “The proposal to make the first carrier (often a regional) in a multi-segment trip responsible for compensation if a missed connection results in a long delay to the entire trip is a step backwards,” he said. European regional feeder operators could carry an unfair burden through this principle, he added. In the UK, the Board of Airline Representative (BAR UK) echoed McNamara’s concerns. “We believe that EC261 is a clumsy and in many cases excessive regulation, placing an excessive burden on airlines operating from and within Europe at a time when the region is already struggling,” said chief executive Dale Keller. In his view, proposals for connecting flights could make it harder for passengers to transfer between airlines on a combined fare and ticket. McNamara suggested the proposals should now undergo extensive revision. “This proposal is one step in a long process to improve Regulation 261/2004 for both passengers and operators,” he said.Source: routenews, Piers Evans
Gravity always wins!