European Commission (EC) legislation covering passenger compensation rights is
likely to enter force in early 2005 after the European Parliament
overwhelmingly gave final approval for the bill.
Parliament backed amendments made in October following discussions between Parliament
and European Council officials to resolve outstanding issues.
new rules will enter into effect a year after publication in European Union’s
Official Journal, which is likely to occur early next year. Parliament rejected
Council recommendations that the rules be enforced within three months, to give
airlines more time to prepare for the financial impact of the legislation.
regulations replace existing rules dating back to 1991 and set standard
compensation levels – in three different brackets, based on sector length – in
cases of cancellations, long delays and denied boarding.
legislation has drawn strong criticism from carriers and airline groups,
notably among regional and low-fare carriers unhappy that compensation levels
do not reflect ticket prices and that feeder carriers could face compensation
claims covering the connecting long-haul sector as well.
regulators are set to temper at least one of the criticisms – that the same rights
are not applicable to other modes of transport – by extending the scheme.
EC has been asked to make proposals to extend these passenger-protection
measures to modes of transport other than air, notably rail and sea transport,”
says a European Parliament statement.
of the Parliament] took the view that it was irrational, unfair and a
distortion of competition to compensate for denied boarding or a long delay of
a [flight] between two European cities while not offering compensation in
similar circumstances for a high-speed train journey between the same two
cities or a Channel ferry between Dover and Calais.”