Passengers and the European transport industry are being hit hard by the Covid-19 outbreak.

National governments introduced different measures, including travel restrictions, border controls and transportation-related measures. The purpose of these guidelines is to reassure passengers that their rights are protected. For instance in the case of Malta, the authorities suspended all direct flights to and from certain countries. However, not all Member States are adopting the same measures. In its efforts and response to help lessen the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Commission published a set of guidelines in a bid to ensure that EU passenger rights are applied in a coherent manner across the EU.

The EU is the only area in the world where citizens are protected by a full set of passenger rights, whether they travel by air, rail, bus and coach or ship. Given the unprecedented situation Europe has been experiencing due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the Commission believes it would be helpful to clarify in this context the rights of passengers when travelling by air, rail, bus and coach or ship, as well as the corresponding obligations for carriers.

Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean said: “In light of the mass cancellations and delays passengers and transport operators face due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission wants to provide legal certainty on how to apply EU passenger rights. In case of cancellations the transport provider must reimburse or re-route the passengers. If passengers themselves decide to cancel their journeys, reimbursement of the ticket depends on its type, and companies may offer vouchers for subsequent use.”

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