- by cnn
- 06 Dec 2023
Australian airlines could soon be forced to pay cash compensation to passengers whose flights are delayed or cancelled as the government faces mounting calls to introduce laws to rein in carriers arbitrarily changing their schedules.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, consumer advocate Choice and the Australian Lawyers Alliance have all separately raised the prospect of a compensation scheme as the government considers its aviation white paper.
In Europe, passengers whose flights arrive at their final destination with a delay of more than three hours are entitled to between Â¤250 and Â¤600 each, depending on the distance of the trip. Longer delays mean passengers can opt to be refunded, which must be repaid to them within seven days. If a delay means a passenger misses a connecting flight on the same reservation, the airline must also pay compensation.
The compensation rules only affect flights between two EU destinations and do not apply in situations where extraordinary circumstances, such as poor weather, caused the delays.
In Australia, different airlines offer varying levels of compensation, and while the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) applies, there are no aviation-specific regulations forcing a minimum amount or timeframe for compensation.
Bird said current laws allow airlines to issue tickets that do not guarantee departure at a particular time or date, meaning there are no repercussions if airlines choose to cancel flights or bump passengers at the last minute to suit their operations.
Forcing airlines to compensate passengers for cancelled flights could also help address slot availability issues at airports such as Sydney, where legislation caps the number of take-offs and landings.
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