France says majority of member states suspend reimbursements for air travel

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PARIS: Germany, Italy and Spain have joined the call by 12 European Union governments for the EU executive body to suspend rules for airlines affected by the crisis to fully reimburse canceled flights, France said in a statement on Saturday, May 2.

On Wednesday, the dozen EU governments, including Paris, urged the European Commission to suspend rules forcing cashless airlines to offer refunds instead of vouchers for future trips due to the COVID pandemic- 19.

“I am pleased that a very large majority of Member States support my request to allow airlines and shipping groups to temporarily use vouchers when canceling trips, in order to relieve their cash reserves while protecting the passenger right to reimbursement ā€¯Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said in a statement.

Airlines across Europe, including Lufthansa and Air France-KLM, have asked the state for help because coronavirus blockades have forced them to immobilize their fleets for more than a month, with no end in sight.

The European Commission, which is to issue guidelines on how the wider transport industry could gradually restart, has said so far that airlines must follow EU rules and reimburse canceled flights.

They should only issue vouchers if passengers accept them.

Governments in favor of a temporary waiver have declared that vouchers should be valid for a specified period and include the right to redemption if they are not used before the expiration date. Protection should also be provided in the event of the bankruptcy of an airline.

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