On 31 January 2018, during a cocktail event in the European Parliament, the Association of Passenger Rights Advocates (APRA) announced itself as the new player on the Brussels policy scene. Policy makers from all institutions, as well as airlines and other stakeholders came together to debate the need for strong and clear passenger rights.
APRA President Christian Nielsen informed the attendees that the members of APRA so far have helped over 20 million passengers enforce their rights and educated even more travelers. Moreover, with the help of the airlines, by using the comprehensive data held by the APRA members, the association will be able to establish a unified disruption database. “Imagine how much cost and time could be saved for everyone if anyone could easily look up a flight to see whether EC 261 would trigger compensation”, Nielsen said.
The event was hosted by member of the European Parliament, Georges Bach, who is in charge of the Passenger Rights Regulation for this institution. In his speech Bach commended the members of APRA for setting up the association and forming a strong voice for passengers. Bach furthermore urged the European Council to open the debate back up, rather than “holding the file hostage”.
During her keynote speech, European Commission Head of Unit Elisabeth Kotthaus said that she is pleased to see that passengers have so many options now and congratulated APRA for its establishment. Ms. Kotthaus, who is in charge of a number of air passenger related files in the Commission, agreed that it could be a good idea to develop a trustmark for claim agencies, to ensure the quality of their work, avoiding some of the known pitfalls in the industry.
APRA President Christian Nielsen said: “We are proud to have formed the first truly united European voice for air passengers and look forward to working together closely with the European Institutions as well as the airlines, towards further strengthening the regulatory framework for European passengers”.