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Source: Fotolia / benqook

On 13 March 2013, the European Commission presented its proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 and Regulation (EC) No 2027/97. The dates for the meetings of the Council Working Parties are not yet known. The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure is, in principle, receptive to the proposed amendments and supports an equitable balance of interests between passengers and air carriers.

Major amendments to Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 according to the proposal of the European Commission:

  • Delays in arrival added to liabilities;
  • Addition of special rules governing delays to feeder and connecting flights;
  • Limitation of the assistance services in the case of force majeure;
  • Assistance services should, in principle, only be provided if no reimbursement of the ticket price and no carriage at some later date is chosen;
  • In the future, if departure is delayed by two hours, this will already give rise to the liability of providing care instead of the formerly applied principle of a distance-related delay ranging from two to four hours;
  • Further amendments concern support services (carriage by other transport means):
  • Extension of the obligation to provide information to air passengers;
  • Air carriers are granted a period of two months to respond to passenger complaints;
  • Obligation imposed on airports, air carriers and other stakeholders in the transport chain to establish contingency plans in order to optimize support services for „stranded“ passengers;
  • Numerous new duties for the national complaints and enforcement bodies.

Major amendments to Regulation (EC) No 2027/97 according to the proposal of the European Commission:

  • Increase in the advance payment carriers are obliged to pay in the event of death by more than 2,000 EUR (18,096 SDRs);
  • Introduction of a refined liability regime to extend liability for the equipment of disabled persons (wheelchairs, mobility aids);
  • Assignment of the obligations under the Montreal Convention and under Regulation (EC) No 2027/97 to the complaints and enforcement system under Regulation (EC) No 261/2004, especially the review of the content of contracts by the national complaints and enforcement body.