The governments of Germany, Italy, and Spain have joined 12 others in the EU demanding a suspension of airline refund rules as the industry struggles to keep afloat.
ALL major airlines are experiencing a dramatic drop in passengers and freight, they simply are not in a position to pay everyone back in cash for their cancelled flights, instead preferring to offer vouchers to be used if and when they resume flying.
Under EU 261 denied boarding regulations though, airlines must refund customers within seven days of a flight being cancelled, however, many airlines are facing drastic liquidity issues and are unable to issue any cash refunds within that time frame.
The European Commission has issued new guidance and sanctioned credit notes being issued instead of cash only when passengers accept them.
Last Wednesday 12 EU governments called on the union’s executive body to suspend the rules and yesterday Germany, Italy, and Spain were reported to have joined them.
French transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said in a statement: “I’m glad a very large majority of member states are supporting my request to authorise airlines and maritime groups to temporarily use vouchers when trips are cancelled, so as to relieve their cash reserves while protecting passengers’ rights to a refund.”
Governments in favour of a temporary change in the rules have said vouchers should be valid for a set period and include the right to reimbursement if they are not used before the expiry date. They also want to ensure that financial protection be provided in the case of airline bankruptcies.