IATA has announced a new arrangement to help passengers impacted by airline bankruptcy. A voluntary agreement on behalf of its members flying to, from and within Europe will cover the repatriation of passengers unable to return home due to an airline ceasing operations as a result of financial failure.
“Under the agreement, in the event of an airline bankruptcy, Iata member airlines flying to and from the EU will make their best efforts to offer repatriation to passengers stranded away from home,” an Iata statement said. These passengers will be provided access to discounted transport to return home, subject to available capacity. The ‘rescue fares’ of a nominal amount will be available for purchase up to a maximum of two weeks after the event to anyone flying to, from or within Europe who does not already possess insurance covering this eventuality.
The European Commission has estimated that between 2011 and 2020, only 0,07% of all passengers could be affected by airline bankruptcy and, of them, only 12% would require assistance in getting home.
“A permanent statutory fund to aid passengers in such situations has been a topic of considerable discussion. The airline industry has opposed such a fund as financially prudent airlines would be subsidising riskier airlines. More importantly, estimates of the bureaucracy needed to run the fund suggest that up to 85% of the money would be eaten up in administration,” Iata said.
“A compulsory levy on airlines to deal with repatriation would not serve anybody’s interest. We commend the European Commission for resisting this and for encouraging airlines to adopt this co-ordinated and customer-focused approach,” said Tony Tyler, Iata’s Director General and CEO.