Coronavirus: Airlines warned over passenger refund rights

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Coronavirus: Airlines warned over passenger refund rights

  • 10 Might 2020
Cleaner pushes trolley through deserted terminal Picture copyright Getty Photographs

The aviation watchdog has warned airlines that they are legally required to offer refunds to clients who had their flights cancelled due to the coronavirus.

By regulation, aircraft operators must refund clients within seven days if their flight is cancelled.

But with fewer than 10% of UK flights taking off, airways are struggling to cope with all the requests for refunds.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) stated it might take motion towards airways.

"We are reviewing how airlines are dealing with refunds in the course of the coronavirus pandemic, and can think about if any motion must be taken to make sure that shopper rights are protected," the regulator stated in a press release.

Last month, shopper group Which? stated it had acquired hundreds of complaints from individuals struggling to secure a refund for their cancelled travel. As an alternative, airways have been providing clients vouchers to be used when lockdown are lifted.

'Systematically denying refunds'

The journey business's own estimates advised £7bn of travellers' money was affected, Which? stated.

Now the CAA has stepped in. "Beneath the regulation, shoppers are entitled to receive a refund for his or her cancelled flights, despite the challenges the business is presently dealing with," it stated.

"We help airlines providing shoppers vouchers and rebooking options where it is sensible for the buyer.

"However it will be significant that buyers are given a transparent choice to request a money refund with out pointless obstacles."

The regulator stated it didn't anticipate airlines to "systematically" deny shoppers their proper to a refund.

"We anticipate airlines to offer refunds for cancelled flights as quickly as practically potential, while appreciating there are operational challenges for airways within the current circumstances."

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary has stated it's going to take up to six months to refund passengers for flights cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Picture copyright Getty Pictures
Picture caption Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary has reduce his pay by 50% for the remainder of the yr

He told the BBC that the airline was struggling to course of a backlog of 25 million refunds with lowered employees.

Airlines have been pressured to floor nearly all of their fleets due to the disaster, which has all but eliminated demand for air journey.

Consequently, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Ryanair have all introduced thousands of job cuts.

Airways have also stated that plans to introduce a 14-day quarantine interval for anyone arriving in the UK from any country aside from the Republic of Eire will further harm demand.

UK airports instructed that a quarantine "wouldn't solely have a devastating impression on the UK aviation business, but in addition on the broader financial system".

Karen Dee from the Airport Operators Affiliation, which represents most UK airports, stated the measure ought to be applied "on a selective foundation following the science" and "the financial impression on key sectors ought to be mitigated".