Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Questions (90, 93, 105, 123)

Mark Ward

Question:

90. Deputy Mark Ward asked the Minister for Transport the provisions in place for air passengers who are not being offered refunds or vouchers from their carrier despite following Government directives not to fly; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9447/21]

View answer

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

93. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Transport the plans being considered to refund flights already booked even in circumstances in which the flights are still operating, given that persons are requested not to go on holiday; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9509/21]

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Cathal Crowe

Question:

105. Deputy Cathal Crowe asked the Minister for Transport the plans being considered for airlines to refund passengers their total flight cost if they did not take their flight in November 2020 following Government advice not to fly; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9737/21]

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Niamh Smyth

Question:

123. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Transport the plans being considered to compensate consumers who have bought air travel flights but no longer want to travel due to the pandemic (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10049/21]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 90, 93, 105 and 123 together.

As the Deputies are no doubt aware, air passenger rights are protected by Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004, which covers the rights of passengers in instances of flight cancellations. However, if a flight goes ahead and a customer either cancels or does not use their ticket, they are not entitled to a refund under EU law.

Mindful of the position that Government has taken in relation to international travel in the interests of public health, the issue of consumer rights has been high on my agenda since taking Office. I have raised this with the airlines, and at the height of the uncertainty last Summer, in particular, I engaged with both Aer Lingus and Ryanair to underscore that options offered to consumers should be fair and reasonable.

As it now seems likely that Summer 2021 is also going to be adversely affected from a travel and holiday perspective, I will again be raising the importance of there being fairness and reasonableness in dealing with consumers, in addition to the need to comply fully with consumer rights as covered in EU law. If any individuals are unclear about those rights, the Commission for Aviation Regulation has a dedicated web site for consumers, www.flightrights.ie.