There have been a total of 77 airline bankruptcies in the European Union since 2000, the latest being Sky Europe, based in Slovakia.
In this latest case, and in many others, passengers are left stranded, often at holiday destinations, sometimes without accommodation, and very often faced with the need to find a flight home. Compensation is very often not paid, passengers who have not used a credit card or travel agency when booking being especially vulnerable.
The overall market context is one of increased passenger numbers for Low Cost Carriers (LCCs), who now have a significant share of the holiday flight market, and a decline in package holidays.
The Package Travel Directive (Council Directive 90/314/EEC(1)) protects package holidaymakers. Basic airline liability for death or injury as a result of an accident is defined in Regulation (EC) No 2027/97(2). Airline operator insurance requirements for second and third person liability are covered by Regulation (EC) No 785/2004(3) and denied boarding by Regulation (EC) No 261/2004(4).
Nowhere, however, in EU legislation is passenger protection against airline insolvency addressed.
How does the Commission intend to close this loophole?
Will it bring forward specific legislation to provide passengers with protection against airline insolvency? Or will the Commission propose a revision of any relevant legislation on bankruptcy to include cases like Sky Europe?
What scope does the Commission see for establishing a reserve compensation fund derived from airline operators' contributions?