Airlines Want to Scrap Europe’s Generous Compensation Rules

Europe’s top airlines are seeking to overturn European Union compensations laws after being compelled to pay out more than 10 billion euros ($12 billion) in refunds during last year’s coronavirus lockdowns.

The EU261 rule, which sets out reimbursements for flight cancellations and delays, was onerous even before the pandemic struck, executives said at the Airlines 4 Europe’s annual meeting Thursday. They argued that it isn’t compatible with the mass groundings forced on companies during the crisis.

“It’s probably one of the most punitive protection-rights laws in the world,” Air France-KLM Chief Executive Officer Ben Smith said in a joint webinar with the heads of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, British Airways owner IAG SA, Ryanair Holdings Plc and EasyJet Plc. “It’s very important that we move along to evolve this law to something that is more realistic and more balanced.”

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