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ICAO establishes new principles on air travel consumer protection

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Benin Airport. Photo; pwlimited

Benin Airport. Photo; pwlimited

The governing Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has established new global core principles on air transport consumer protection.

According to the Council, the principles cover three phases of a customer’s experience: before, during and after travel, and will now be considered by ICAO’s 191 Member States when they develop or review their applicable national regimes.

It stated that, prior to travelling, the ICAO core principles recommend that passengers should benefit from sufficient levels of advance information and customer guidance, given the wide variety of air transport products in the market and associated legal and other protections which may apply. Product and price transparency is also recommended as a basic customer right, it added.

Furthermore, during their travel, the ICAO core principles call for passengers to be provided regular updates on any special circumstances or service disruptions which arise, as well as due attention in cases of a service disruption.

This could include rerouting, refund, care, and/or compensation, noted ICAO.

The Council stated the core principles also call on airlines and other stakeholders to have planning in place for situations of massive disruptions characterized by multiple flight cancellations, and reiterate the fundamental right to fair access for persons with disabilities.

After travelling, the ICAO core principles stipulate efficient complaint handling procedures be established that are clearly communicated to customers.

The Secretary General, ICAO, Raymond Benjamin said: “Improving the level of regulatory convergence in global civil aviation is at the heart of ICAO’s role, and these new core principles represent an important milestone in our continuing effort to foster harmonization in worldwide air transport regulation”.

The decision on the new core principles was made during the ICAO Council’s most recent (205th) Session.

Also adopted on the occasion was a new ICAO “Long-term Vision for International Air Transport Liberalization”, which will serve as a reference point and aspirational indicator for States as they pursue related policy approaches.


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