We analysed how the Commission protected air passenger rights in the EU during the COVID-19 crisis.
We found that air passengers were not informed fully about their rights during the COVID-19 crisis. In the initial period of the crisis, many passengers were not reimbursed, or had no other choice than to accept vouchers. As of June 2020, airlines started reimbursing passengers, albeit with significant delays. Member States did not link State aid to the reimbursement of passengers, even if the Commission had made it clear that they could do so. The Commission acted to safeguard air passenger rights and took steps to mitigate the effects of the crisis, despite the limitations of the existing legal framework. Proposals in this respect that could contribute to remedy this situation were presented in 2013, but so far the Council has not agreed on its position.
We recommend that the Commission should better protect the rights of air passengers and inform them about their rights; enhance the coordination of national measures and better link State aid to airlines to the reimbursement of passengers; and improve the tools and legislation for safeguarding air passenger rights.
ECA special report pursuant to Article 287(4), second subparagraph, TFEU.