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Covid-19 Pandemic

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 21 July 2020

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Ceisteanna (105, 113, 125, 135, 143)

Gerald Nash

Ceist:

105. Deputy Ged Nash asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he is considering compensation and or refunds for those persons who have booked flights and holidays and have now chosen not to travel in view of the continued public health advice; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16480/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

113. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will review the case of a person (details supplied); if his attention has been drawn to the position of the family and the effort being made in the interest of public health; if he can advise regarding the refusal of the airline to refund the person; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16724/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Duncan Smith

Ceist:

125. Deputy Duncan Smith asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he is considering compensation and or refunds for those persons who have booked flights and holidays and have now chosen not to travel in view of the continued public health advice; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16474/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Michael Lowry

Ceist:

135. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to the fact that airlines are refusing to issue refunds to customers that have cancelled flights for July and August 2020; if the airlines will be instructed to issue refunds or credit notes to these customers who have cancelled flights on the basis of the advice to avoid all non-essential travel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16514/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Paul McAuliffe

Ceist:

143. Deputy Paul McAuliffe asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if guidance will be provided to persons who have booked overseas travel in cases in which the country to which they are travelling is not on the green list and the airlines and or tour operators are refusing to offer compensation or credit for deferrals or cancellations. [16596/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 105, 113, 125, 135 and 143 together.

As things stand in law, air passenger rights are protected by Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004, which covers the rights of passenger in instances of 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.

Evidently the existing consumer protections and legal obligations on airlines and the broader travel sector did not envisage the current circumstances of mass cancellations and stringent travel restrictions. That has, not surprisingly, put the entire system under immense pressure and it is causing real difficulties for people and businesses. I understand that the main Irish airlines have been offering the option to rebook in circumstances where a flight occurs but people are not able to present because of Government advice. That said, I am mindful that the options put forward by airlines may not be fair or workable for customers in all instances.

There has been considerable engagement with the airlines including around consumer rights issues. Clearly, if the industry is seeking to secure State financial support to help it through the current period - which is one of the recommendations from the Aviation Taskforce - then a commitment to fairness and clarity on consumer rights will have to be offered in return, at the very least.

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