Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
955. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the recourse available to consumers to ensure the right to full refunds when airlines cancel flights in view of Covid-19; the consumer statutory entitlements under Irish and EU laws in this area; and the appropriate State body and-or Department that has the lead remit in this area. [5681/20]
Consumer protections for airline passengers and for holiday-makers who book trips through travel agents and tour operators are enshrined in EU law. EU Regulation 261/2004 requires airlines to provide a full cash refund within 7 days in the event that a flight is cancelled by the airline; and EU Directive 2302/2015 on Package Travel requires travel agents and tour operators to provide a full cash refund within 14 days in the event that a package holiday is cancelled, by either the customer or the holiday provider.
The Commission for Aviation Regulation, which is an indepdendent statutory body under my remit, has responsibility for enforcing airline refund obligations in Ireland, and I understand that the Commission recently wrote to all airlines operating routes that service Ireland, reminding them of their legal obligations to provide refunds for cancelled bookings. I am aware that there are significant delays making refunds, and while I can appreciate that there are genuine administrative challenges dealing with the unprecedented level of cancellations, the legal obligation to provide a refund is clear and unchanged. Anyone having difficulties securing a refund should contact the Commission. Further advice is available on its dedicated passenger rights website www.flightrights.ie.
With respect to consumer rights under the Package Travel Directive, where customers of travel agents and/or tour operators are not receiving requested refunds, then they have recourse to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.