“EU Policy for Guaranteeing the Rights of the Passengers Using Air Transport”

(February 17th, 2012, 11:00 a.m., BTA, Sofia)

The Atlantic Club of Bulgaria as a partner of Information Office of the European Parliament in Bulgaria organized a round table, entitled “EU Policy for Guaranteeing the Rights of the Passengers Using Air Transport”.

Special guest of the event was the member of the European Parliament Mrs. Antonia Parvanova who presented the European legislation relevant to the rights of the passengers using air transport. On the event attended Mrs. Violeta Stanichich - Head of the Information Office of the European Parliament to Bulgaria and Mr. Ignat Arsenov Executive Director of the European Consumer Centre.

According to Mrs. Parvanova it is difficult for the passengers to understand how the norms of the European legislation are being exercised on a national level because of the vagueness in executing and appliance of the actual norms. On this issue is necessary a consistent legislative frame of the Community.

As far as the Bulgarian member of the European Parliament is concerned an identical monitoring and sanctions must be created in EU for the air-companies, in order to make them comply with the principles and norms of the Community. She noted that many air-companies apply the European legislation in a way which lets them relegate to a minimum their obligations. Another problem is that resolutions of the national sanction bodies are not obligatory and are not being used in the practice of the air-companies. 

Ms. Parvanova took also into consideration the issue concerning the lack of exact explanation of the meaning of different terms in the European legislation which leads to a various interpretations and appliance of the norms and as a result of that the passengers would not be able to understand what are their rights in the particular cases.

Another issue, which was discussed by Ms. Parvanova was the insufficient clarity about the formation of the tickets’ price. According to  her the compulsory services that are part of the fly like check-in and the right of at least one piece of luggage should not be charged with additional tax payment as it is at the moment.

In the course of the above mentioned the Bulgarian MEP stated that for the long delays and annulment of flights the passengers have to be treated in one and the same way and to have right for compensation. Ms. Parvanova  pointed out that in many unexpected circumstances, as for example natural disasters, the airline companies can’t take care for all of the passengers and therefore the care for passengers under extraordinary circumstances should be taken by the other party.

Ms. Parvanova underlined that a convenient and easy for use system is necessary for processing complaints and remedies’ payments in order to assist the passengers in this situations rather than becoming a barrier, which discourage them to find their rights.