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Consumer Protection

Airlines, passengers, and governments have a shared goal: getting to destinations comfortably and on-time. Airlines are committed to looking after their customers and, due to the fiercely competitive market, are highly incentivized to do so. 

 Passenger rights     

When things do not go according to plan, airlines agree with the concept of passenger protection to underline this commitment. But the proliferation of passenger rights regimes around the world creates difficulties for the industry and confusion for customers. In addition, prescriptive regimes can have unintended consequences for consumers, including higher fares, lower connectivity, and greater inconvenience. We need to strike the right balance between protecting passengers and industry competitiveness.

US proposed Consumer Rule III re-regulates the industry

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) issued by the United States Department of Transportation is an attempt to re-regulate airline distribution mechanisms. The market has changed fundamentally since the regulation was first called for; airlines are economically motivated to provide complete information on all ancillary services through all sales channels.

Moreover, the DoT has failed to demonstrate that the benefits of such regulation outweigh the costs. Learn more


Consumer protection:
our position

Why ICAO States should address extraterritoriality

The ICAO Air Transport Regulatory Panel met in May 2014 and agreed draft core principles on consumer protection. It's a useful step forward towards greater convergence and compatilbility among the 60+ passenger rights regimes out there today. The draft principles incorporate a number of our core principles, but there’s one key element missing: extraterritoriality.

Overlapping regimes deprive states of their ability to make legitimate policy choices, in accordance with Articles 1 and 11 of the Chicago Convention. They also cause confusion for consumers. On one itinerary, as many as three different passenger rights regimes may apply. Passengers and airlines should be clear on what entitlements apply in any given situation.

The UK Jet2 ruling highlights the need for an EU 261 revision

There should be no compromise between safety and consumer protection regimes. This ruling, whereby the majority of technical problems are inherent to the carrier’s activity and are therefore not extraordinary circumstances, does not sufficiently prioritize safety above all other factors. Moreover, the ruling highlights the challenge of the ambiguous existing European Regulation 261/2004 and the clear need to revise the regulation to ensure greater clarity for airlines and passengers alike.

Conflicting interpretations by national courts across the European Union have confused both consumers and the industry and further highlight the need for a new EC Regulation that will not continually evolve through interpretations by courts across the member states or the European Court of Justice. IATA fully supports the current work of the Council Aviation Working Party to have a binding, but non-exhaustive, list of incidents that are considered to be extraordinary and to define technical problems separately.   

Supporting Economic Analysis

Briefings and outside views on competition

Briefings and outside views on airline costs

Economic benefits of aviation




Additional information

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