EU-Ombudsman: air passenger rights (Air France)

The European Ombudsman, P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, has opened an investigation into whether the European Commission is fulfilling its responsibility to ensure that EU rules on air passenger rights are properly applied in the Member States. This follows a complaint from a German traveller, whose Air France flight was cancelled. He claimed that he received no assistance or compensation from Air France and that the responsible French supervisory body also failed to help him.The complainant turned to the Commission but was not satisfied with its response. In his complaint to the Ombudsman, the German citizen alleges that the Commission is failing to ensure that EU Member States are properly applying the rules on compensation and assistance to passengers, in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights.BackgroundIn autumn 2007, the German traveller wanted to return from Madagascar to Germany, via Paris. However, the connecting Air France flight was cancelled because of a strike and he had to organise his own trip back. According to the complainant, he did not receive any assistance from Air France and his requests for compensation were rejected by the airline.The complainant then forwarded his case to the responsible supervisory body in France, the French Directorate-General for Civil Aviation (DGAC). When he did not get any replies from the DGAC, he turned to the Commission for help. The Commission replied that it would only intervene if there was enough evidence of systemic problems with the implementation of rules on air passenger rights in a Member State. It invited the complainant to keep the Commission informed about his case.After two further e-mails to the Commission remained unanswered, the complainant turned to the Ombudsman. In his complaint, he alleged that the Commission failed to deal properly with his complaint and that it is failing to ensure that the Member States give effect to air passenger rights. The Ombudsman has asked the Commission to provide its opinion by 28 February 2009.The European Ombudsman investigates complaints about maladministration in the EU institutions and bodies. Any EU citizen, resident, or an enterprise or association in a Member State, can lodge a complaint with the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman offers a fast, flexible and free means of solving problems with the EU administration. For more information: http://www.ombudsman.europa.euSource:;=HTML&aged;=0&language;=EN&guiLanguage;=en

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