Wednesday, 21 September 2022
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
16. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the contact that he has had with a company (details supplied) about the recent cancellation of flights due to an IT issue; his plans to acknowledge that many passengers were considerably out-of-pocket as a result of cancellations with extra costs such as accommodation, food and travel to different airports and destinations and lost annual leave days being incurred; his plans to urge the company to compensate passengers for losses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46060/22]
Officials from my department engaged with the airline on the day of the systems outage and the airline was urged to keep their lines of communication with passengers open in so far as possible. As I understand it the systems outage caused difficulty for the airline in engaging directly with its impacted passengers.
The EU Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004 sets out the rights and entitlements of airline passengers in instances of flight cancellations, among other matters. It provides that where a flight is cancelled then the air carrier must offer the passenger the choice of re-routing as soon as possible after the original departure time, re-routing at a later date or a refund of the cost of the unused flight ticket. The regulation provides that the refund must be paid within seven days of the cancellation. The passenger may also be entitled to compensation under certain conditions unless the air carrier can prove the cancellation was caused by extraordinary circumstances.
If the passenger chooses to be re-routed as soon as possible then the airline must provide the passenger with care and assistance while they wait for the alternative flight. Care and assistance comprises of:
- meals and refreshments in reasonable relation to the waiting time;
- hotel accommodation where an overnight stay becomes necessary;
- transport between the hotel accommodation and the airport;
- two free telephone calls/access to email.
If the passengers airline does not provide the care and assistance described above, passengers should make their own reasonable arrangements and retain all receipts in the process. If the passenger needs to make a claim for expenses, refunds or compensation they must contact the airline directly. If the passenger does not agree with the airline's decision, they can refer the matter to the Commission for Aviation Regulation for certain flights.
In Ireland, the Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) is the designated National Enforcement Body (NEB) in relation to the enforcement of Regulation (EC) 261/2004 for flights departing Ireland or flights from a non-EEA country to an Irish airport.
Full information about air passenger rights and entitlements is available at the Commission’s dedicated passenger rights website www.flightrights.ie and the CAR's Air Passenger Rights Team can also provide advice to consumers by phone (353-1-6611700) and email at email@example.com.
I would encourage anyone who having contacted the airline to be accommodated on an alternative flight or who has sought a refund and/or compensation and is unsatisfied with the airline's response to contact the Commission or the relevant enforcement body in the country where the cancelled flight was due to depart. The Air Passenger Rights team in the Commission only deals with flights departing from Ireland and that expenses, refunds and compensation claims should be made initially to the airline.
For flights that do not depart from Ireland, the passenger should contact the relevant National Enforcement Body where the flight departed. A list of other relevant national enforcement bodies can be found transport.ec.europa.eu/transport-themes/passenger-rights/national-enforcement-bodies-neb_en.