19 May 2014 17:25

A European Commission review of passenger rights' complaint handling and enforcement in the European air transport sector yesterday called for stronger enforcement.
Although Cyprus was included in the report along with the rest of the EU plus Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, it was not among the worst offenders.
The report said "complaints to national authorities for compensation and assistance have returned to lower levels since the exceptional year 2010 (ash cloud crisis, snow disruptions)".
Airlines get sanctioned in only 1% of the cases as most of the complaints are settled without having to resort to such measures.
"Complaints from disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility about problems in air transport remain very low in general."
Based on data provided by the National Enforcement Bodies (NEBs) of the 31 countries, the number of complaints received under the regulation for establishing compensation for and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding, cancellation or long delay fell from 91,726 in 2010 to 52,675 in 2011 before rising to 56,478 in 2012.
In Cyprus, during 2010 some 165 complaints were received in total of which 46 involved a long delay (28%) 79 (48%) a cancellation, 17 (10%) denied boarding, and 23 (14%) other unspecified reasons.
The number of letters sent to passengers closing their cases was 495, while cases transferred to another national enforcement body NEB as out of jurisdiction numbered 16 (10%). Seven "other measures" such as a number of inspections, warnings, meetings and media contacts numbered seven.
The 31 countries received a total of 91,726 complaints in 2010. Over half of these complaints (55%) were about cancellations, and 18% concerned delays.
Apart from Spain where 25,013 complaints were related to the bankruptcy of the Spanish air carrier Air Comet, the United Kingdom received the highest number of complaints (8,843), followed by the Netherlands (8,761) and Portugal (8,328).
In Cyprus, during 2011 some 150 complaints were received in total of which 89 (59%) involved a long delay 39 (26%) a cancellation, five (3%) denied boarding, and 17 (11%) other unspecified reasons.
Some 450 letters were sent to passengers and 10 cases transferred to other NEBS while 10 instances of other measures were taken. Europe-wide in 2011, total complaints received by NEBs decreased 43% due to the abating of 2010 volcanic ash cloud crisis as well  as the decrease of industrial actions. A total of 52,675 complaints were received in 2011 with 36% involving delays and 34% cancellations. Spain received most complaints (10,848), followed by Portugal (6,454) and Germany (4,477).
In 2012, there were 122 complaints made regarding Cyprus of which 59 (48%) were connected to long delays, 25 (20%) to cancellations, 18 (15%) to denied boarding and 20 (16%) to other unspecified reasons. A total of 366 letters were sent to passengers and 11 (9%) cases referred to other NEBs while other action was taken in 10.
In the 31 countries complaints received by NEBs increased 7% in 2012, reaching 56,478. Of these, 38 % of complaints were attributed to delays and 38% to cancellations.
The top three countries receiving most complaints remained unchanged: Spain (15,733) where a great proportion of complaints relate to Spanair ceasing operations, Portugal (6,165) and Germany (5,105).


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