The International Air Transport Association (IATA) along with Airlines for Europe (A4E) has expressed its disappointment to the new guidelines issued by the European Commission regarding the EU261 passenger rights regime.

It stated that the new guidelines are ‘disappointing and unhelpful’ and doesn’t fulfil the temporary mitigation measures that airlines requested.

The airlines had stated that the airlines will not have to pay any compensation for Covid-19 related cancellations.

Airlines also asked to suspend the requirement to help and care for passengers when flights are cancelled during the pandemic.

Lastly, it also asked for the flexibility to permit airlines to offer vouchers and rebooking options instead of refunds when flights are cancelled.

The IATA stated that the EC said that cancellations due to flight bans, low demand and other externally imposed measures, which means that the cancellation compensation would not be applicable.

On the other hand, the EC did not respond to the flexibility of providing passengers with care during the crisis.

This decision compels airlines to offer unlimited care to passengers who are stranded due to travel bans by the government.

It also rejected the request to provide rebooking or vouchers to passengers with cancelled flights.

IATA Europe regional VP Rafael Schvartzman said: “The Commission appears to considerably underestimate the crisis afflicting airlines in Europe. Faced with a cashflow catastrophe, many airlines can only offer vouchers in lieu of immediate cash refunds for cancelled flights.

“The Commission must accept that this solution, which many people would regard as reasonable in the current extraordinary circumstances, should be facilitated.

“The Commission needs to understand that fiddling at the edges will not keep airlines in any shape to get the economy moving again when the health crisis abates. This is not a short-term issue – air connectivity will not be back to normal for many months. And for some airlines, things will never be the same again.”