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Member States should seize opportunity of a new passenger rights proposal to break deadlock on reform of Air Passenger Rights Regulation

By  Brussels, — Last updated on 11 December 2023

Europe’s leading airlines are urging EU member states to use a new proposal on passenger rights to unlock the impasse on a wider reform that has gone nowhere for a decade. This will deliver the necessary clarity for airlines and passengers alike and ensure a smoother and more efficient system for passenger rights.

The proposal presented today is part of a package of legislation that would offer some limited improvements to protecting passengers in Europe. On the one hand, there are positive moves to provide more clarity to passengers and airlines, particularly on multimodal transport and on the obligations of what information intermediaries must provide. However, there remains a significant lack of clarity over key aspects of the core air passenger rights legislation, including what constitutes an extraordinary circumstance and under which conditions passengers are entitled to compensation. This is despite the Commission recommending such changes ten years ago.

A4E urges member states to heed the words of Commissioner Vălean and discuss the original reform proposal together with today’s new proposals to deliver a clear and unified regulation that offers full clarity for passengers and transport operators.

Ourania Georgoutsakou, Managing Director of Airlines for Europe, said:

“Today’s proposal is a tentative step in bringing coherence to the tangled web of passenger rights in Europe but it does not address the elephant in the room which is the urgent need for the EU to revise the core regulation on passenger rights known as EU261 whose lack of clarity has led to more European Court of Justice decisions than any other regulation.”

“There is now an opportunity for member states to revive the decade old proposal to reform the EU’s air passenger rights Regulation and in particular lift the fog of uncertainty over what is an extraordinary circumstance. Member states should seize the opportunity to deliver a clear and simple set of rules. This would put an end to the endless growth of claim farms that have been clogging courts and damaging the relationship between passengers and airlines”, she continued.




The European Air Passengers Rights Regulation EC261/2004 establishes common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding, flight cancellations, or long delays of flights. A revised proposal, which the European Commission adopted in March 2013, aims to clarify the definition of ‘extraordinary circumstances’ in case of flight cancellations or delays, introduce the new right on rerouting and expand the passenger’s right to information about flight disruption. Although the Council has held debates on the Commission’s proposal since October 2013 and made some progress on the file, it has not agreed on a general approach for negotiations with the Parliament.

More on the A4E proposals to reform the air passengers’ rights regulation here:


About A4E

Airlines for Europe (A4E) is Europe’s largest airline association. Based in Brussels, A4E works with policymakers to ensure aviation policy continues to connect Europeans with the world in a safe, competitive and sustainable manner. As a key initiator of aviation’s Destination 2050 roadmap, A4E and its members committed to achieving Net Zero carbon emissions for their own operations by 2050. With a modern fleet of over 3,300 aircraft, A4E airlines carried over 610 million passengers in 2022 and served nearly 2,000 destinations. Each year, A4E members transport more than 4 million tonnes of vital goods and equipment to more than 360 destinations either by freighters or passenger aircraft.