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Members of European Parliament urge European Commission to ensure enforcement of air passenger rights

Members of European Parliament (MEPs) are set to question the European Commission on the massive cancellation of flights and the subsequent enforcement of regulations on air passenger rights.

European Law states that passengers whose flights have been cancelled are entitled to reimbursement, rerouting or return. However, Dublin-based Ryanair faltered in that regard after failing to inform customers of their rights, doing so only after a threat of legal action was made by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

The CAA called for Ryanair to clear the air on its rebooking policy, commits to aid passengers who chose an inapt option because they were not in possession of essential information, and refunds any out-of-pocket expenses of people affected by the cancellations.

Labor’s European Parliament Spokesperson on Transport and Tourism, Lucy Anderson MEP, had this to say on the crucial issue:

“Once again we see an airline treating its customers with contempt. Not content merely with cancelling scores of flights and ruining thousands of people’s holidays, they compounded their ineptitude by misleading passengers about the compensation they are due.

“This kind of sharp business practice is all too common, with airlines believing they can exploit the differing enforcement regimes across the EU to shirk their responsibilities. I welcome the news that the CAA is pushing Ryanair to act, but this whole situation simply highlights the need for member states to work together on this issue.

“Passengers don’t care about national jurisdiction when it comes to their holiday, they want to know that wherever they fly in Europe they can trust their airline to get them where they’re going or compensate them when things go wrong. We must have consistent rule enforcement right across our continent.

“Businesses need to start looking for solutions not loopholes, and national governments, including the UK, need to work together to create a situation that works for passengers. Most importantly, the Commission needs to listen to passengers and the parliament, and focus its attention on sorting out this mess.”

The Ryanair flop was soon followed by yet another awful situation for passengers and airline staff, after Monarch airlines went into administration.

“Total mismanagement of the Brexit process by the UK government has contributed to the collapse of Monarch. In view of the mounting uncertainties surrounding the future of aviation between the UK and the rest of the EU, there is now an increasingly poor climate for airline stability and investment,” said Anderson.

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