In the latest twist to the European Commission's (EC) unpopular denied boarding legislation, the European Region's Airline Association (ERA) and leisure carrier body the International Air Carrier Association (IACA) have separately lodged a complaint of maladministration with the European ombudsman.

The two groups claim that the EC has been issuing misleading information to airline passengers and the media, in breach of the EC's own code of good administrative behaviour.

The ERA says that information sheets, videos and a website set up by the EC contain incorrect statements about the regulation. According to ERA director general Mike Ambrose, the EC's claims about technical and weather cancellations show a lack of operational understanding. But he says that the Commission has refused to "withdraw or correct the information or even discuss the topic".

Koen Vermeir, director aeropolitical and industry affairs at IACA, warns that EC posters displayed at airports give no mention of exceptional circumstances such as bad weather, closed runways or delays caused by the arrival of high security risk international figures at an airport. Member carriers have already seen their airport staff face potential conflict situations, he says, with angry passengers citing inaccurate advice from the EC.

An original draft of an information poster was withdrawn and replaced when industry associations objected to some of the wording but, says Vermeir, the second version is still far from perfect. The organisations are calling for the material to be withdrawn and for the EC to apologise to airlines.

The new complaints are in addition to broad industry opposition to the denied boarding legislation. Last year IATA and the European Low Fares Airlines Association secured the right to challenge the new legislation in the European Court of Justice, with the case due to be heard in September.


Source: Airline Business