Air Berlin

100,000 customers lose tickets due to flight cancellations

About 100,000 Air Berlin flight tickets are now invalid due to widespread flight cancellations and will not be refunded.

October 04, 2017
Many Air Berlin passengers have been grounded with no refund in sight
Photo: Air Berlin

Air Berlin confirmed a media report that this number of customers will lose their money because there will be no compensation of their cancelled flights. The insolvent airline will end all long-haul flights by October 15, and has also cancelled many short-haul flights in recent weeks.

Most of the affected customers had booked long-haul flights before August 15, the day that the airline declared insolvency. Their payments go into the insolvency cash reserves and there is little hope of them receiving any compensation as minor creditors.

However, the situation is different for passengers who booked after August 15. An Air Berlin spokesman said their payments will be “put on one side” and tickets will be fully compensated if their flights are cancelled.

The German consumer protection federation has sharply criticised the fact that many passengers who paid large sums for intercontinental flights will not get any refund. “This shows that airlines should have to secure insolvency insurance, just like tour operators have to do for package holidays,” said Klaus Müller, head of the federation.

Norbert Fiebig, president of the German Travel Association (DRV), supported his demand but called for an international agreement rather than a national or even European solution in order not to impact on market competition. “Insolvency insurance for airlines makes sense and is desirable as long as it has a neutral effect on competition,” he said.

But the German Aviation Federation BDL rejected such a move, arguing that airlines are already controlled by civil aviation authorities in terms of their financial health. “Customer protection is ensured through the passenger rights regulation,” it claimed.

Meanwhile, Air Berlin has disclosed its financial results for the first half of this year. Its loss grew to €433.8 million compared to €271.5 million last year while turnover dropped to €1.5 billion from €1.7 billion in the first half of 2016.

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