BARIG welcomes decision of the German Federal Government: Voucher solution benefits customers, the travel industry and air traffic
• Fair solution for all parties involved
• Reimbursement obligation must be temporarily suspended
• Secure future must be ensured by the EU
Frankfurt am Main, April 3, 2020. The Board of Airline Representatives in Germany (BARIG), the joint representation of interests of more than 100 German, European and global airlines, welcomes the decision made yesterday by the so-called "Corona-Cabinet" of the German Federal Government for a temporary suspension of the reimbursement obligation for flights canceled due to a pandemic.
"Germany is choosing a fair, reasonable and future-securing path for all parties involved," emphasizes BARIG Secretary General Michael Hoppe. "This measure can contribute significantly to preventing a European collapse of the aviation and travel industry, which seemed inconceivable until recently. Therefore, we count on the leading role of the EU to implement this fair regulation quickly and unbureaucratically for all of Europe in the interest of citizens, the economy and the affected companies."
The Corona-crisis poses an unprecedented threat to the entire aviation and travel industry. Airlines are compelled to cancel their flights virtually altogether. If the airlines had to reimburse these crisis-related cancellations in full, most of them would go out of business. Instead, the regulation advocated by the Federal Government for this highly exceptional situation provides, in the interest of all, that direct repayments be made only in cases of hardship. In all other cases, customers shall receive vouchers valid until 31 December 2021. Customers not redeeming the voucher by that date shall then receive a refund.
Michael Hoppe: "This regulation will benefit customers, the travel industry and the aviation industry. The drastic repercussions of the Corona-crisis for aviation have already been felt and would continue to have dramatic consequences for jobs, economic power, mobility, trade and the transport of goods far into the future. The entire economic cycle would be severely impaired for months, perhaps even years. Elementary steps to set the course for a recovery of the system following the end of the Corona-crisis must, therefore, now be taken through the right decision at EU-level.”
BARIG supports the German Federal Government in its appeal on EU-level
By means of personal letters, BARIG has re-established direct correspondence with the responsible commissioners in Brussels. Therein, BARIG explicitly calls for a prompt and temporary suspension of the reimbursement obligation for canceled or annulled flights. The intention behind this is to further support at EU-level and to emphasize the absolute urgency of the voucher solution.
In these letters, Michael Hoppe, BARIG Secretary General, re-iterates that such a request does not in any way call for a “nullification of regulations that we have developed in the joint dialogue between states and the EU.” Instead, it asks merely for “a temporary, situational suspension of the immediate obligation to reimburse, and permitting a credit note in form of a voucher with the guarantee of a possible reimbursement in cash at a later date, i.e. a deferral of the cash payment.”