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Consumer Protection Update

The ICAO Air Transport Regulatory Panel, comprised of 27 ICAO member states, was able to agree on a draft text of core principles on consumer protection.

All things considered, the outcome was a positive one for the industry. Key elements of the industry principles agreed upon at the 2013 AGM—namely consistency with MC 99, recognition of market forces and the principle of proportionality—are in the draft ICAO principles. Other inclusions or elements of the principles that are consistent with the industry position include:

  • Recognition of the need for mechanisms among all stakeholders—not just airlines—to ensure consumers receive adequate attention and assistance in the case of massive disruptions
  • Recognition of the preeminence of safety and security with regard to consumer protection regimes
  • Entitlements discussed in cases of service disruptions (e.g. care, compensation) not specifically attributed to airlines
  • Mention of pre-notification with regard to accommodating passengers with reduced mobility.

In addition, IATA attempted to include our industry core principle on extraterritoriality during the discussions but it was rejected by the European States and others. We understand European member states rejected it for political reasons, due to sensitivities about extraterritoriality in the context of EU ETS discussions.

The US Department of Transportation has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on Consumer Rule III. DOT is proposing to require that airlines and agents display ancillary information when selling base fares. DOT has proposed a number of scenarios by which airlines and agents might meet this requirement.

IATA and A4A were successful in convincing DOT not to require airlines to sell ancillaries through the agent network. We are assessing the rule internally as well as reaching out to member airlines to understand what it means from an operational and business perspective, and at the same time will request an extension to the DoT’s 90-day response deadline.

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