UNITED KINGDOM- The UK govt has released new plans aimed at strengthening the enforcement powers of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), enhancing the rights of disabled passengers, and facilitating better access to dispute resolution.
The proposals are part of the UK govt answer to its consultation on aviation consumer policy reform published last year Jan 2022.
Under the new plans, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will be granted stronger enforcement powers regarding consumer protection law, including issuing fines for breaches.
UK Govt New Plan for Protections for Air Passengers
According to the DfT, this will result in enhanced standards for all passengers on flights traveling to and from the UK. Subsequently bolstering passenger confidence and boosting the aviation industry.
Furthermore, the proposals promise to ensure “full and equitable compensation” for any damage to mobility equipment that occurs during domestic flights within the UK.
Presently, airlines are not obligated to cover the entire cost of repairs, even if the equipment sustains damage during the flight. The DfT also emphasizes that airlines will be encouraged to waive this limitation for international flights.
I have heard concerning examples of passengers’ wheelchairs getting damaged and being left without full and fair compensation. It is so important that everyone can travel with confidence, read the release.
Moreover, the DfT will provide complimentary training for ground handlers. Further guaranteeing appropriate handling of mobility equipment and minimizing the likelihood of such incidents.
Regarding grievances, airlines operating to, from, and within the UK must participate in the presently voluntary Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) program. This scheme enables customers to escalate complaints without resorting to legal proceedings.
UK Civil Aviation Authority
UK Civil Aviation Authority’s Joint-Interim Chief Executive, Paul Smith, Shares his thoughts.
He said, “We express our appreciation for the government’s announcement today. This aims to improve the rights of air passengers, reinforce the enforcement authority of the Civil Aviation Authority, and make Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mandatory.”
“For a considerable time, we have advocated for stronger enforcement measures to align with other regulatory bodies.”
The proposed plans announced today accomplish this goal. Further, it will effectively empower the Civil Aviation Authority to hold the aviation industry accountable for fulfilling its responsibilities towards passengers.
Equal access to air travel should be available to everyone, and the proposed changes regarding compensation for damaged mobility equipment will contribute to its improvement.
We strongly urge UK airlines to promptly adopt these proposals for all flights, not limited to domestic ones, even before the legislation is introduced.
Disabled People Transport Advisory Committee
Tanvi Vyas, the leader of the Disabled People Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC) aviation group, also welcomes these plans.
He stated, “Increasing consumer confidence and ensuring consistent and reliable travel experiences for disabled travelers necessitates acknowledging the international aspect of providing compensation for damaged mobility equipment.”
“It is vital to encourage waiving such compensations for international flights to instill assurance and maintain uniformity,” added Vyas.
“We express our immense gratitude for the valuable perspectives shared during this consultation, and we will maintain strong collaboration with industry stakeholders. Further, with passenger associations and individuals to ensure that our consumer reform initiative effectively serves the needs of passengers. They remain the central focus within the realm of UK aviation,” further added.
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