Fri, 22 Sep 2023

Airlines: We can avoid another summer of travel chaos

Robert Besser
08 Jun 2023, 15:43 GMT+10

ISTANBUL, Turkey: In an interview with Reuters, Willie Walsh, director-general of the International Air Transport Association, (IATA), said airlines are prepared to avoid a repeat of last summer's travel chaos.

However, he warned that some flights could still be disrupted by controller strikes in the US and Europe, and criticized legislation aimed at forcing airlines to pay compensation for unavoidable delays.

"I am reasonably confident that we will be able to get through this peak summer without too much disruption," Walsh said, while attending IATA's annual meeting in Istanbul this week

"But as far as they are concerned, they have fulfilled their obligation to get their resources in place for this summer. Most of the airports, I think, will be okay, as well. I think they've learned the lessons from last year," Walsh added, according to Reuters.

Canada, the US and the EU are drafting or reviewing legislation that will require airlines to compensate passengers for delays.

"Ultimately, it is the consumer who is paying because this is, of course, being borne by the industry, but the industry cannot just absorb that," Walsh said.

Some passenger groups have accused airlines of avoiding compensation by claiming exemptions due to exceptional circumstances, such as the EU allows if airlines can show they have taken reasonable action to prevent delays.

As air traffic returns to pre-COVID levels, airlines have reported strong bookings for this summer.

In 2022, European air traffic control agency Eurocontrol warned that due to the Ukraine conflict, possible strikes, increasing numbers of aircraft and the reopening of Asian markets, 2023 could be "the most challenging year of the last decade."

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