Protect travelers against airline bankruptcies with guarantee fund: associations

Travelers waiting or their luggage at Schiphol
Travelers waiting or their luggage at SchipholkruwtDepositPhotosDeposit Photos

Every traveler who boards a plane in the Netherlands must be protected against the bankruptcy of airlines, according to travel companies’ association ANVR, travelers’ association ANWB, consumers’ association Consumentenbond, and travel guarantee fund SGR. On Monday they will submit a proposal for a guarantee fund for refunding individual tickets, the Telegraaf reports.

This new guarantee fund can be funded with a levy of 25 euro cents per passenger per flight, ANVR director Frank Oostdam said to the newspaper. “We propose to include this in the flight tax and transfer it to the SGR, which can do all settlements in the event of damage, as has been the case for many years with package holidays from travel agencies. A guarantee is legally required there. Strangely enough not for single tickets.”

The need for such a fund is clear, given the fact that 17 European airlines have gone bankrupt in the last three years, SGR director Erik-Jan Reuver said to the newspaper. “Passengers then lose their prepaid money. Many also get stranded at the destination, so that they themselves have to buy a new ticket from another airline.”

Thousands of Dutch travelers are the victims of airline bankruptcies each year, according to the Consumentenbond. “Debacles including Air Berlin, Wow Air, Aigle Azur, Flybmi, Thomas Cook Airlines and Jet Airways caused much misery. It often costs travelers capital, on worthless tickets, but also cancellations of hotels and car rentals. A guarantee fund reimburses ticket costs and repatriates people if necessary,” a spokesperson said.

Harm Kreulen, director of KLM Nederland, is against such a guarantee fund. “Reliable and financially sound companies are forced to levy money to give consumers certainty for lesser companies. With that you give away competitive elements,“ he said to the Telegraaf. “It is also more complicated to display those surcharges in the ticket price in a transparent way. This way we increasingly become a sort of collection office, while we earn nothing from it.”

 

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