Croatia has inherited proposal to raise minimum flight delay, transport minister says



Temperature scanners are used to screen passengers for fever with upon their arrival at Kuwait international airport in Kuwait City on January 29, 2020. - The disease has spread to more than 15 countries since it emerged out of Wuhan late last year, with the death toll soaring to 132 and confirmed infections nearing 6,000.All confirmed fatalities have so far been in China. Cases have been reported across the Asia Pacific region and in North America and Europe, but the Wuhan family in the UAE are the first in the Middle East. (Photo by STR / AFP)

Temperature scanners are causing delays

The European Union will consider raising from three hours the minimum flight delay for which passengers can receive financial compensation, a move that could cut airlines' costs, according to a document seen by Reuters.

Croatia, which is chairing the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2020, "has proposed amending the rules on compensation for delays and cancellations at talks among EU governments on revising passengers' rights that are due to start in the coming weeks."

"Under EU rules, travellers are entitled to up to 600 euros ($663.24) if a flight is delayed by at least three hours or cancelled less than 14 days before departure. They can also receive compensation if they are denied boarding," Reuters recalls.

But some national authorities and courts have criticised the rules, saying member states struggle to process the large number of claims they receive, and airlines' compensation payments have grown because the number of delays and cancellations has risen.

In 2018, 17.6 million passengers were affected by a cancellations and 16.5 million by a long delay, Reuters reported.

In an informal document circulated among member states, Croatia has proposed keeping the level of compensation the same as now for passengers, but suggested increasing the minimum flight delay for which airlines must make payments.

Zagreb made the proposals "in order to take account of the high financial burden for airlines and of the fact that delays are less and less imputable to airlines," the document said.

Croatia has only inherited the proposal to raise the minimum flight delay for which passengers can receive financial compensation, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Oleg Butkovic said on Wednesday.

"This proposal was not put forward by the Croatian EU presidency, a Croatian ministry or the Croatian government. This point is again being raised by the European Commission during our presidency and is yet to be discussed," Butkovic told the press before an inner cabinet meeting.

"Croatia's position on the matter is logical and normal. We will not be asking for air companies to get richer at the expense of end users, that is citizens," the minister added.