EU carriers request relief from paying refunds

IATA is calling for European Union regulators to temporarily suspend the requirement that European airlines offer refunds when flights are canceled. 

The request comes as airlines in Europe and elsewhere have canceled an unprecedented number of flights due to the Covid-19 crisis. Some carriers have unilaterally decided to suspend refunds or make them more difficult to process. 

“Permitting the use of vouchers instead of refunds, as has been allowed for some tour operators, would give airlines breathing space to repair cash flows,” IATA said. 

According to the CAPA Centre for Aviation, scheduled European flight capacity is down 59% this week from a year earlier. The real reduction is likely higher, CAPA added, since the data did not appear to reflect the true extent of announced flight cuts. 

Among European carriers, Swiss already states on its website that it is not currently processing any refunds on any sales channels so that it can focus on cancellations and rebookings. 

EU carriers Air France, KLM, Aegean, Olympic Air and Plus Ultra Lineas Aereas have informed ARC that they will manage all refunds directly and not allow them to be processed via GDSs or ARC’s Interactive Agent Reporting (IAR) system.

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