Aviation Consumer Protection Regulation Should Address Shared Responsibilities

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called for consumer protection regulation and released survey results showing that most passengers believe airlines will treat them fairly in cases of delays and cancellations.
No matter whether link in the aviation supply chain is to blame, the airline is responsible for any delays or cancellations where there are particular restrictions regarding passenger rights. Therefore, IATA advised governments to make sure that liability for flight-related incidents is distributed more fairly throughout the air transportation sector.

“The aim of any passenger rights regulation surely should be to drive better service. So it makes little sense that airlines are singled out to pay compensation for delays and cancellations that have a broad range of root causes, including air traffic control failures, strikes by non-airline workers, and inefficient infrastructure. With more governments introducing or strengthening passenger rights regulations, the situation is no longer sustainable for airlines. And it has little benefit for passengers because it does not encourage all parts of the aviation system to maximize customer service. On top of this, as costs need to be recouped from passengers, they end up funding this system. We urgently need to move to a model of ‘shared accountability’ where all actors in the value chain face the same incentives to drive on-time performance,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

The airline sector has benefited greatly from economic deregulation over the years, which has increased consumer choice, decreased prices, expanded route networks, and encouraged new entrants. Sadly, a trend toward re-regulation poses a threat to reverse some of these developments. additional than a hundred jurisdictions have created distinctive consumer legislation in the field of consumer protection, and at least a dozen additional governments are considering joining the club or toughening what they already have.

The EU Regulation is in danger of becoming a global template, and some nations in Latin America and the Middle East, as well as Canada, the United States, and Australia, appear to view it as a model without realizing that EU261 was never intended to address operational disruption and as a result does not apply equally to all actors in the aviation chain.

“In refusing to address the issue of distributing accountability more evenly across the system, EU261 has entrenched the service failings of some actors who have no inducement to improve. A classic example is the more than 20-year lack of progress toward the Single European Sky, which would significantly reduce delays and airspace inefficiency across Europe,” said Walsh.


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