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Broad welcome for EU air passenger proposals

European Commission proposals that would increase the rights of air passengers when facing delays have been welcomed by European Conservatives and Reformists group transport spokesman Roberts Zile MEP.

European Commission proposals that would increase the rights of air passengers when facing delays have been welcomed by European Conservatives and Reformists group transport spokesman Roberts Zile MEP.

The plans would allow any passenger to disembark a plane if delayed on the tarmac for more than five hours, with a full refund. They would also make it a legal requirement for airlines to provide information on airport delays or cancellations no more than 30 minutes after the scheduled time. Airlines would also be required to operate a complaints procedure that acknowledges receipt of a complaint within a week and formally responds within two months.

Conversely, current proposals that require airlines to compensate passengers after a three-hour delay will be increased to five hours for short-haul flights and nine hours for long-haul ones, because the current rules encourage airlines to cancel a flight and pay the compensation, rather than try to resolve potential problems and operate the flight.

Mr Zile said:

“When flights are delayed, passengers want access to lots of information and support from the airline. EU rules have ensured this is the case but they should be adjusted to improve passengers’ rights. The commission’s proposal is a significant step in the right direction.

“At the same time, it is important that the Commission proposals take away some unnecessary burden on the airline industry. It is sensible that airlines are encouraged to operate a flight rather than cancel it after a few hours. The current regime encourages airlines to cancel the flight and pay compensation when most passengers just want to get to their destination, even if it takes a little longer.”

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