Refunds, and no vouchers for air passengers
MEPs who propose a guarantee fund ask for them
AVIONEWS informs that the MEPs (Members of European Parliament) Giosi Ferrandino, Alessandra Moretti and Patrizia Toia (PD political party), together with colleagues from the S&D Group of the Transport Commission have written a letter addressed to the European Transport Commissioner, Adina Ioana Vălean, and to the Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton indicating that "Carriers and travel agencies are refusing to pay refunds to the many passengers whose tickets were cancelled following the Covid-19 emergency, offering vouchers in exchange". AVIONEWS underlines that, in addition to the limitations of the voucher solution, the latter entails the adoption by the passenger of a risk in the event that the carrier fails or ceases operations, an event which at this moment cannot be underestimated.
The petitioners recall that this solution constitutes "an unacceptable violation of the EU regulation 261/2004 on the rights of air passengers as well as of the guidelines of the Commission published on March 18, 2020".
"The situation -the MEPs continue- is putting at risk the many SMEs that work in tourism and employ 27.3 million people, 11.7% of the total employed in the EU, equal to 10% of the Community GDP, compared to the 2 million people employed by the airlines and the other 9.4 millions working in satellite activities". The MEPs of PD reiterate their position that "airlines and of travel should comply with EU passenger rights legislation and guarantee them the right to ask for a ticket refund".
Socialist and Democrat MEPs add that "it is important to find a balanced solution that guarantees adequate access to liquidity for airlines and travel at the same time when so many passengers are asking for refunds together". For this reason, a "coordinated response at EU level to improve the liquidity of the companies" is requested, safeguarding the interests of passengers and making vouchers more attractive.
Aware of the concern of passengers to lose the right to use the voucher in the event of the insolvency of the carrier, MEPs invite the Commission to coordinate public guarantees on the value of travel vouchers acquired during the Covid-19 crisis. For example through the creation of an European travel guarantee fund. Furthermore, the Commission should ensure that vouchers can be exchanged for a refund within a reasonable period of time, if they have not been used.
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