UK regulators warn airlines to minimise flight disruptions, support passengers

If consumers continue to face serious problems, they would consider further action



By Reuters

Published: Fri 22 Jul 2022, 8:13 AM

Last updated: Fri 22 Jul 2022, 8:19 AM

On Thursday, Britain's competition and aviation regulators warned airlines of potential enforcement action, if travellers faced more flight disruptions and cancellations through the summer, as per a report from Reuters.

This warning comes at a time of widespread disruption at airports— including long queues and cancelled flights— caused by staff shortages, as airlines struggle to keep up with a surge in demand after the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We are concerned that consumers could experience significant harm, unless airlines meet their obligations and minimise flight disruptions throughout the summer and beyond," said the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), in a joint open letter to airlines.

The letter also stated that some airlines may not be doing everything they could to avoid "harmful practices", such as selling more tickets than they could reasonably expect to supply, and failing to provide customers with clear information, such as about the risk of cancellations.

It also warned airlines that they needed to support customers whose flights were cancelled, by offering alternative routes and providing effective communication, as well as paying refunds promptly.

The two regulators said they were looking at evidence, and if they found consumers continuing to face serious problems, they would consider further action, including enforcement.

The letter did not mention any airlines by name, but acknowledged that some carriers had performed better than others in keeping customers informed beforehand about cancellations.

The government has also stepped in to try and help ease the disruption at airports. Last month, Britain temporarily relaxed rules around airport slots to allow airlines to devise realistic flight schedules, while this month it launched a so-called aviation charter to help ensure passengers know their rights.

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