Bahrain to push for air passenger rights law
A Bahraini lawmaker is pushing for a new law that protects air passengers in the Gulf from flight delays or cancellations and grants them financial compensations.
"The law will ensure that air passengers in Bahrain and in the Gulf are not denied their rights and do not suffer from any abuses, delays or cancellations," said Faisal Fouladh, member of the upper house in the bicameral parliament. "We have noted that several airlines operating in the region simply ignore the rights of passengers stipulated in IATA. There are often cases of flight cancellations, delays and overbooking, and this causes serious problems for many people, particularly in the summer when [there are] many more travelling by air."
He added that the campaigns launched in Europe should be used as a reference to help improve the situation in the Gulf.
"In all European airports you see posters that guide air passengers on their rights against any form of abuse, and on the obligation of airlines to inform them about flight delays or cancellations. The posters also explain how passengers may be entitled to financial compensation for flight delays incurred when rerouted and for ticket refunds," he said.
According to Fouladh, the mushrooming of airlines in the region has given passengers new flying options and wider choices to select the best services. However, he said, passengers should not overlook their rights or tolerate abuse.
"Even though there are overall better conditions and greater opportunities for air passengers, we insist that people should be protected from abuse. We hope that the law, a first in the region, will help safeguard their interests," he said.
Other lawmakers are set to partner with Fouladh in his move which will have to be approved by the upper house before moving to the lower house for further debates.
In a bid to deter airlines from deliberately overbooking flights and to limit delays, the European Union in 2005 created more compensation rights for air passengers who are unable to board their planes because of overbooking, cancellations or flight delays.