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Parliamentary questions
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26 October 2017
P-005941/2017(ASW)
Answer given by Ms Bulc on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: P-005941/2017

Article 8(1) of Regulation (EC) 261/2004(1) provides that passengers of a cancelled flight shall be offered a choice between (a) reimbursement, (b) re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at the earliest opportunity or (c) re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at a later date at the passenger's convenience, subject to availability of seats.

The choice offered to passengers under Article 8(1) is to be made once. As soon as the passenger has chosen one of the three options under Article 1 (a), (b) or (c), the air carrier no longer has any obligation linked to the other two options. When passengers are offered the option of re-routing of a journey, this must be ‘under comparable transport conditions’. Whether transport conditions are comparable depend on a number of factors and must be decided on a case-by-case basis.

The Commission recommends, in the Interpretative guidelines for Regulation 261/2004 on air passenger rights under point 4.2.(2), certain good practices. One of them is that re-routing should be offered at no additional cost to the passenger, even where passengers are re-routed with another air carrier or on a different transport mode or in a higher class or at a higher fare than the passenger paid for the original service.

The Commission proposed a revision of Regulation (EC) 261/2004 on 13 March 2013 (COM(2013)130 final)(3) in which a new Article 8(5)(4) clarifies that if the air carrier cannot reroute the passenger on its own service within 12 hours, it must consider other carriers or other transport modes, subject to seat availability.

Moreover, it explains that notwithstanding Article 22(1) of Regulation 1008/2008(5), the other air carrier or other transport operator shall not charge the contracting carrier a price that goes beyond the average price paid by its own passengers for equivalent services in the last three months.

(1)Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights, and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 295/91, OJ L 46, 17.2.2004, p. 1
(2)Interpretative Guidelines on Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights and on Council Regulation (EC) No 2027/97 on air carrier liability in the event of accidents as amended by Regulation (EC) No 889/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council, OJ C 214, 15.6.2016, p. 5.
(3)Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of fights and Regulation (EC) No 2027/97 on air carrier liability in respect of the carriage of passengers and their baggage by air (COM(2013) 130 final of 13.3.2013).
(4)Article 1(8) of the proposal — Article 8(5) of the amended Regulation (EC) 261/2004.
(5)Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 September 2008 establishing common rules for the operation of air services in the Community, OJ L 293 of 31.10.2008.

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