New bill on Air Passenger Rights


As it is widely known, Air Passenger Rights consists of regulations at EU level that protect passengers traveling within the European Union, especially in the event of flight disruptions like denials of boarding, big delays, or cancellations.

However, Air Passenger Rights are subject to updates and changes, and the European Commission periodically reviews and revises these regulations to ensure they remain effective and relevant.

Indeed, last Wednesday 29th November the European Commission (EC) proposed to revise current Air Passenger Rights Regulations. The proposed updates to existing legislation seek to strengthen the enforcement mechanisms and improve air passenger rights.

In particular, the EC launched a bill for amending Regulation (EC) 261/2004 -which is the key regulation on Air Passenger Rights – and Directive (EU) 2015/2302 on package travel and linked travel arrangements. The revised Passengers Rights Regulations would bring improvements to:

  • Passengers with reduce mobility (“PRM”) travelling by air: if the airline obliges them to travel accompanied, the person accompanying them would travel free of charge.


  • Bookings done through travel agencies: passengers will have more clarity who will reimburse them: the transport operator or the travel agency.


  • Refunds done through vouchers: automatic refund if not used before the end of their validity period and protection against travel company insolvency.


  • Prepayments for travel packages at the time of booking or ‘downpayments’: limitation to max 25% of the package price up until 28 days before departure.


  • Multimodal journeys: passengers using different types of transport will be entitled to better information and protection.

The European Commission is also proposing to create a “common European mobility data space” which will make it easier to access and share transport data both for businesses and passengers.


Initiatives to update Air Passenger Rights aimed at ensuring their effectiveness and adequacy on current reality are welcomed, like this later one.

Anyway, we miss this proposal for amending Regulation (EC) 261/2004 has not included some other updates which were announced in previous proposals, like the one released in Year 2013, under stay. That might allow to provide air transport sector a more balanced regime, which at the same time gives legal certainty and enough protection to air passengers, such as:

  • The inclusion of a list of extraordinary circumstances clarifying when airlines can be exonerated from paying monetary compensations in case of large delays or flight cancellations.


  • Updating passengers right to compensation for big delays, not expressly recognized by Regulation (EC) 261/2004 until now, but pursuant to ECJ case-law. Increasing the time threshold from three to five hours granting passengers the right to compensation would be a fair one, matching with time threshold when passengers affected by a delay of the fly can opt for not traveling and request reimbursement of their tickets.


  • Introducing a minimum time period, for instance 12 hours, where air carrier can reroute passengers on its own services, before considering other carriers or other transport modes.

We expect that this would be discussed further during the legislative process through the European bodies.


For more information: Belén Devesa | Augusta Abogados