Saudi Arabia’s civil aviation authority is to introduce new measures to protect consumers, including compensation for lost baggage and better care in the event of flight delays.
Under regulations issued by the General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA), airlines, airport operators and ground service providers would be fined SR25,000 ($6,666) if they fail to assist passengers with special needs – the equivalent of up to 200 percent of the total value of the ticket.
The regulations also set minimum compensation amounts for passengers whose baggage has been lost. The amounts are: SR1,700 ($453) for domestic flights and SR2,800 ($746) for international flights, and the maximum compensation allowance would be SR5,900 ($1,572).
Air passengers would also be entitled to the provision of complimentary juices and other soft drinks for the first hour of a delay (from the original time of departure), and hot meals in the event of a delay of three hours or more.
Meanwhile, airlines would be obliged to notify passengers of flight cancellations and overbooking 21 days in advance under the new rules.
The regulations are planned to come into force in October, GACA said in a statement on its website last Thursday.
Abdulhakim Albader, assistant to GACA’s president for safety, security and air transport, said the new rules had been developed in line with international air transport industry standards.
Under European Union (EU) aviation regulations, for example, passengers are entitled to compensation from the airline, up to around €1,358 if their luggage is lost, damaged or delayed.
In addition, if a passenger is denied boarding, their flight is cancelled or arrives more than three hours late, they may be entitled to compensation of €250 ($278) and €600 ($668), depending on the distance of the flight, according to the EU.
GACA added that the regulations were intended to strike a balance between the rights of air carriers and passengers, based on consultation with customers and the industry.
Source: Arabian Business