Countries should not copy 'misguided' passenger rights regulations

IATA has urged countries considering new passenger rights regulations to consider growth and competition issues in their deliberations—and take input from aviation and travel industries. 

The infamous European regulation on passenger rights—EU 261—has over a decade of history. 

It would be difficult to make the argument that EU 261 has really protected passengers

It includes disproportionate levels of compensation, places burdens on airlines for delays and cancellations outside their control, and confuses passengers with its complexity.  

“At the end of the day EU 261 has added costs to airline operations," said Chaitan Jain, IATA Assistant Director, Government and Industry Affairs.

“But it has failed as an extra incentive to airlines simply because so many of the delays and cancellations are beyond their control. 

“So it would be difficult to make the argument that EU 261 has really protected passengers.”

In a speech to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO, took the argument further: “Too often we end up with governments using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. 

We have been fighting Europe’s ill-conceived passenger rights regulation for over a decade

“The result is messy and leaves little of value on the table. We have been fighting Europe’s ill-conceived passenger rights regulation—and more recently, the European Travel Package Directive—for over a decade.”

Instead of copying the EU’s “misguided” regulations, de Juniac urged governments to take input from the industry while focusing on a regulatory framework conducive to competitiveness and growth. 

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