Airline Passenger Complaints To Commission For Aviation Regulation Increased By 134% In 2020
Airline passenger complaints to aviation sector watchdog the Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) increased by 134% in 2020.
As reported by The Irish Times, CAR's annual report for 2020 reveals that the number of airline passenger complaints received by the commission increased by 134% to 4,543 last year, in what was "a record-breaking year" for CAR's air passenger rights team.
Refunds And Compensation
The report reportedly states that the commission recovered €1.25 million in refunds and compensation for airline passengers, which was comprised of €1.14 million in refunds and an additional €112,000 in compensation for 2,039 concluded complaints.
Those figures compare to a total of €741,340 in refunds and compensation consisting of €648,475 in compensation and €92,865 in refunds in 2019.
Complaints About Ryanair And Aer Lingus
The report reportedly reveals that 48% of the complaints that CAR received last year were about that Ryanair, 27% were about Aer Lingus accounting for 27% and the rest were about 84 other airlines.
CAR reportedly received a total of 2,188 complaints against Ryanair, and 50% or 1,021 of concluded complaints to date were upheld. 1,039 reportedly were not sustained against the airline, and an additional 128 investigations reportedly are ongoing.
The report reportedly reveals that CAR received 1,194 complaints against Aer Lingus last year, and 50% or 524 of concluded complaints were upheld and 516 were not upheld. CAR reportedly has investigations ongoing in 154 complaints.
The report reportedly states that CAR's air passenger rights team has completed the investigation of 3,947 complaints in total and found 1,908 complaints to be without merit. By January 29 of this year, 2,039 of the 2,550 complaints requiring enforcement reportedly had been resolved with the airline in favour of the passenger.
Complaints About Cancellations
The commission reportedly said that in relation to 3,491 complaints about flight cancellations, 1,804 were resolved via refunds or expenses, and an additional 1,179 cancellation complaints were withdrawn.
A further 370 complaints reportedly were not sustained, with compensation only paid out in 42 cases.
The report reportedly states that as a result of the unusual travel conditions last year, "the majority of the complaints related to flight cancellations, as opposed to long delays, as in previous years".
92% of the complaints that were received by CAR last year reportedly were about flight cancellations, and The Irish Times quotes the commission as saying that "due to the very high volume of cancellations, air carriers were struggling to process refunds in a timely manner, and some airlines were failing to correctly advise passengers of their rights regarding refunds".
Busiest Months For Complaints
April and May of 2020 reportedly were the busiest months for complaints last year.
Commissioner Cathy Mannion reportedly stated in her report that the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the aviation and travel industries "has been devastating", and that 181 tour operators and travel agents were licensed by the end of 2020, compared to 211 in 2019.
Mannion reportedly also said that CAR received 3,620 claims from customers under the insolvency protection scheme, and the largest proportion of these claims were related to the collapse of USIT Travel Ltd.
CAR Deficit, Costs And Income
According to The Irish Times, last year, CAR recorded a deficit of €117,000, its costs amounted to €3.6 million and its income amounted to €3.49 million.
UK Action Against Ryanair And British Airways Over Refunds
The above news follows news that the UK's competition authority has said that it is launching enforcement action against Ryanair and British Airways over their failure to offer refunds to passengers who were barred from taking flights under COVID-19 lockdown rules.
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