Regional airlines have cause for concern following today’s proposed revision by the European Commission to Regulation 261/2004. “The revision does address some flaws in the current passenger rights legislation, but it also raises new worrying aspects that need to be considered,” says Simon McNamara, Director General, European Regions Airline Association (ERA*).
McNamara applauds the Commission’s stand on limiting the obligations for care and assistance for events beyond an airline’s control and for proposing limits of care for certain regional operations. “The revisions go some way to striking a fair balance between protecting passengers and imposing onerous burdens on airlines,” he explains, adding: “The attempt to begin defining when an airline is and when it is not responsible for disruption is also a step forward in highlighting that many different players are responsible and liable for when an air journey goes wrong.”
However, McNamara is disappointed that the Commission did not go further in addressing the weakness of the current regulation and that it has introduced new measures which will have an adverse impact on regional operators. “The proposal to make the first carrier (often a regional) in a multi-segment trip responsible for compensation if a missed connection results in a long delay to the entire trip is a step backwards. It will place a disproportional burden on European regional feeder operators who play a crucial economic and social role in linking Europe’s remote regions".
“This proposal is one step in a long process to improve Regulation 261/2004 for both passengers and operators,” concludes McNamara.