Written Answers. - Air Services.

Jack Wall

Question:

101 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Transport if his attention has been drawn to concerns expressed regarding the practice of some airlines who are failing to refund taxes and airport charges to customers who, for whatever reason, do not take up booked seats; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2764/03]

John Dennehy

Question:

252 Mr. Dennehy asked the Minister for Transport if his attention has been drawn to evidence given by the chairman of Aer Rianta to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport that some airlines were retaining airport charges and taxes in respect of customers who fail to show for flights they have booked; if he can compel these airlines to return these amounts to the customers concerned or pay them to the relevant tax authorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2838/03]

Róisín Shortall

Question:

256 Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Transport the situation relating to airport charges; if the airlines act as agents for the airport authorities; if such charges are payable in the case of no-show passengers; the current practice in regard to each of the airlines using Irish airports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2950/03]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 101, 252 and 256 together.

This is an issue of consumer rights. It appears, in the first instance, to be a matter of contract between the relevant airline involved and the individual passengers concerned. The question of refunds in circumstances where cancellation of travel arrangements is initiated by the consumer or where the consumer does not show up for the flight, is a matter to be determined in accordance with the terms of the contract between the traveller and the airline concerned. The booking conditions set out on carriers' websites normally set out the conditions attaching to the contract including the circumstances in which moneys paid are refundable or not. I understand that the Director of Consumer Affairs is considering this matter in the light of comments made at the meeting on Tuesday last 28 January 2003 of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport.