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Indonesian Airlines to Pay Compensation for Late Departures?

Ministry Seeks to Protect Consumer Rights by Making Airlines Pay When Passengers Encounter Flight Delays.

(12/8/2007) The Indonesian Ministry of Transportation is planning to soon require Indonesian air operators to pay compensation to their passengers when they fail to keep their published schedule.

The Director of Certification and Airworthiness for the Directorate General of Air Communications, Yulris Hasibuan, said such a requirement would improve customer service for Indonesian airline passengers. While the amount of compensation to be extended to passengers suffering delays and cancellations remain undecided, Hasibuan said the basis for such payments can be found in Law No. 8 of 1999 on Consumer Protection.

Citing an example of the sort of compensation Indonesian air passengers might come to expect, Hasibuan suggested that airlines running 2 hours behind schedule would be asked to provide money or food for their passengers. Planes running more than 3 hours late would be expected to pay a yet to be determined level of financial compensation.

In a sampling of flights operating from Jakarta's Soekarno Hatta International Airport, 2,539 or 61.2% of 4,147 flights suffered delays. Of the late operating flights 1,162 encountered delays of between 11 and 30 minutes while 937 more flights departed an hour or more behind schedule.

Representatives of commercial air operators offered a less than enthusiastic reaction to the compensation proposal, reminding all that such a program remains "only an idea" and must first be discussed between the airlines and the government.

A representative of Garuda Indonesia suggested that exceptions for compensation should be granted when planes were operating late due to weather conditions, airport problems and other factor outside the airline's control.