Issue n° 162 - 07 February 2014

Mobility and transport

In the spotlight

Air passengers

European Parliament votes on air passenger rights

The European Parliament has voted today on proposals from the European Commission to strengthen passenger rights including: measures to ensure that air passengers have new and better rights to information, care and re-routing when they are stranded at the airport. At the same time there will be better complaint procedures and enforcement measures so passengers can actually obtain the rights to which they are entitled.

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Commissioner's corner

Speech - The future of European rail: combining policy with innovation

"Travelling by train should be as quick and easy as getting the car out of the garage. Until things improve, rail will continue to find it difficult to challenge the dominance of road transport."

Siim Kallas

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Figure of the month

8 billion

More than 8 billion passenger journeys are made by rail each year.

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We were asked about...

Question asked by Franz Obermayr (NI)

(25 October 2013)

Subject: Air passenger rights

According to critical media reports, the planned amendments in the area of air passenger rights significantly reduce the current level of protection for passengers. According to the Commission's proposal, passengers would have the right to apply for compensation only in the event of a longer delay than is currently the case. This would mean that a passenger would have to wait five hours before he or she was even entitled to any compensation. Moreover, other entitlements, such as compensation payments in the event of overbooking or cancellation of a flight, which are regulated in the current Regulation from 2004, are no longer provided for in the revised version.

1. What is the Commission's position with regard to these criticisms?

2. Delays ought to fall within the airlines' sphere of risk, not in that of the passengers, as it is surely least reasonable to expect passengers to anticipate any potential problems (technology, weather conditions, strikes, etc.) that could affect the flight time. How does the Commission justify the fact that passengers will now have to put up with delays of up to five hours without suitable compensation?

3. Cancellations and overbooked flights also fall within the sphere of risk of the airlines. How can passengers simply accept these losses without appropriate compensation?

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