Brussels, 15 October 2003
13290/03 (Presse 294)
PARLIAMENT-COUNCIL CONCILIATION COMMITTEE
Agreement on compensation and assistance to passengers in case of denied boarding, cancelled flights or delayed flights
The Council and the European Parliament meeting yesterday evening in the Conciliation Committee(1) reached an agreement on a proposal for a Regulation introducing common rules on compensation and assistance to air passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights. This agreement must be now endorsed by the Parliament (majority of votes cast) and the Council (qualified majority voting procedure) for the Directive to be adopted.
In the context of a global compromise package, the Conciliation Committee settled all the questions arising from the amendments adopted by the European Parliament in second reading. The agreement includes notably:
- The terms of the assistance to be provided to passengers in case of delayed flights: on the basis on this Regulation, passengers will be entitled to have free meal and phone calls when their flights are delayed. Furthermore, if the reasonably expected time of departure is at least the next day after the time of departure previously announced, then passengers will be entitled to hotel accomodation and transport between the airport and place of accomodation. In cases of delays longer than five hours, passengers will be also offered reimbursement within seven days if the flight is no longer serving any purpose in relation to the passenger's original travel plan.
- On the inclusion of a definition of cancelled flights requested by the European Parliament: the solution retained is a definition saying that “cancellation” means the non operation of a flight which was previously planned and on which at least one place was reserved.
- Concerning the check-in times: in order to be entitled to measures provided for in the Regulation, passengers must have a confirmed reservation on a flight and present themselves for check-in either as stipulated by the air carrier or tour operator or 45 minutes before the published departure time, if no other time had been stipulated.
- On the extension of this Regulation to other modes of transport, this matter is dealt with in a declaration from the Commission stating its intention to make proposals to extend Community measures of passenger protection to other modes of transport than air, notably rail and maritime navigation.”
This proposal is aimed at updating Regulation ECC/295/91, notably by strengthening the rights of passengers in the event of being denied boarding or cancellation of their flights, and providing them assistance.
(1) The Conciliation Committee has 30 members: 15 members of the European Parliament and 15 representatives from the Council. The meeting was co-chaired by Mrs. Charlotte Cederschiold, Vice-President of the European Parliament and Mr. Guido Viceconte, Italian State Secretary for Infrastructure and Transport.