The EPP Group calls for temporary exceptions to air passenger rights to allow airlines to reimburse customers in the form of vouchers. Airlines should also have more time to compensate customers. However, the vouchers should be valid for a long period, have a higher value than the initial ticket and allow for changes of destination and name.
“Unified passenger rights across Europe were not designed for mass cancellations, which airlines are facing due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The scale of current customer compensations threatens the existence of many airlines. If we don’t take decisive action, then both airlines and consumers might end up with nothing”, said Marian-Jean Marinescu MEP, the EPP Group’s Spokesman on Transport and Tourism.
"A bankrupt airline cannot reimburse anybody. Now, we need to help airlines protect consumers", Marinescu stressed.
“Air vouchers can be a win-win solution if we make sure that they are attractive to the passenger. They should have a higher value than the original ticket, be flexible in terms of destination, the number of tickets and the identity of the passenger. The vouchers should also allow the customer to fly to the same destination, even if the prices have gone up. I believe that this compromise provides the best solution to safeguard both passenger rights and the future of airlines in this unprecedented situation”, explained Marinescu. He also wants to give airlines more time for compensation, until October 2020.
“We must also be prepared for the worst case scenario and call on the European Commission to put pressure on the Member States to guarantee that even in the case of the bankruptcy of an airline, passengers will get the value of the travel voucher back”, concluded Marinescu.
Note to editors
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 187 Members from all EU Member States