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MEP declares victory in case against airline

March 28, 2011 6:00 AM
By Graham Watson MEP (edited)
Originally published by Surrey County Council Lib Dems
Graham Watson MEP

Graham Watson

South West England's Lib Dem MEP Graham Watson is celebrating after helping to force a re-think by the airline KLM, which had previously refused to reimburse passengers for costs incurred during the eruption of the volcano in Iceland in April.

Under EU rules, passengers left stranded after a flight is cancelled are entitled to accommodation, refreshments and assistance in reaching their final destination. However, following the chaos, airlines such as KLM stated that they would not fully reimburse its passengers. This left several of Watson's constituents out of pocket to the tune of hundreds of pounds.

In August, Graham Watson commented:

"I was astonished when KLM told me that they had decided to ignore the law and leave my constituents with huge bills. Airlines cannot pick and choose which rules they follow. The EU has given passengers certain rights and they must be respected.

"I have contacted the European Transport Commissioner, Siim Kallas, to enlist his support."

The Lib Dem MEP has since received confirmation from the Commissioner that KLM have reversed their position and will make payments in accordance with EU rules to those customers affected.

Graham Watson said:

"I am delighted that we have been able to force a re-think on the part of KLM. This is not about punishing an airline, but about making sure those people left severely out of pocket receive the recompense to which they are entitled under the law.

"I would like to thank Commissioner Kallas for his support in this matter, and echo his words that we must remain vigilant as to any other outstanding cases.

"Nine months after the volcano finished erupting, it looks like many of my constituents affected are beginning to see blue sky!"