The Economic Commission approved the second and third amendments to the Law on Cancellation of Flights

The airlines will start repaying flights canceled during the Corona period, in about a month. Chairman Margi announces that the proposal will not be advanced until closure of the aid scheme for airlines

Economic Committee at its meeting today. Adina Wallman, Knesset Spokeswoman

Knesset Economics Committee, headed by MK Jacob Margie, Today (6.7) for a second and third reading, approved the government’s proposal to amend the Aviation Services Act, which deals with compensation and flight assistance due to cancellation of flights or changes in its conditions. Due to the Corona crisis, the government is seeking to reduce airline damage and set a temporary, limited-time provision that will reduce passenger rights to compensation. The right to assistance will hardly be impaired, the right to a refund will be retained, but the time until the refund will be extended, and the airlines will be able to offer an alternative airline ticket again, and the right to financial compensation will be canceled for the duration of the instruction period. At the end of the meeting, Chairman Margie announced that the proposal would not be advanced in the Knesset plenum until there was a summary of the outline of aid to the airlines.

In today’s hearing, committee members voted on the wording of the proposal, whose principles were summarized in the previous hearing held last week. According to the approved proposal, the time provision will apply until August 31, 2020, when it can be extended for a period not exceeding an additional 9 months. It was further stipulated that the changes would also apply retroactively to all flights canceled from March 1, 2020 and to canceled flights, to and destinations returning from which there was a duty of isolation as of March 1. The eligibility for overnight accommodation for the passenger whose flight is canceled during the period of instruction will be limited to two nights only. However, the Commission decided not to limit the accommodation to the price, in contrast to the original version in which RTA sought to limit the cost of accommodation to one hundred dollars a night. It has also been confirmed that airlines will be obliged to return the money to customers on their own initiative and within 90 days of cancellation of the flight, or after 30 days from the time of entry into force – whichever is later. This is in lieu of 21 days from the date of the customer’s request, as is currently prescribed by law.

In order to benefit consumers, members of the committee determined that, contrary to the current situation, where the customer is the one who should contact the airline, during the time of instruction the airlines will have to return the money on their own initiative. In addition, the airlines were given the option of offering a promotional voucher instead of returning the proceeds. The promotional voucher will only be given to the consumer if he / she agrees in writing, to ensure that the consumer is aware of the possibility of receiving his money back in the voucher. It is further stipulated that the vouchers will be issued within 14 days of receiving the passenger’s consent, the value being at least the amount paid by the passenger for the canceled flight and being valid for at least one year. A customer who does not redeem the voucher will be entitled to receive his money back.

MK Boaz Toporowski Today he suggested that the state provide credit to airlines. According to his proposal, the state companies will return the money to consumers within 21 days of their request, as is currently the law, through the Shekets Fund. The airlines will return the money to the fund 69 days later, so that the consumer does not hurt and the airlines receive the credit from the state. He also proposed to apply the bill only to Israeli airlines.

Attorney General of the Civil Aviation Authority, Adv Ranana Dawn, Objected to the proposal being applied only to Israeli companies, saying it was against the Open Sky Agreement. Treasury Representative, Chaim Borovsky, Opposed the proposal to set up a state fund, saying the airline aid program took into account the money they needed to repay to consumers. MK Toporovsky voted in favor of his proposal to establish the fund, while Knesset members Antanes Shehadeh and Yevgeny Suva abstained, and eight members of the committee opposed it, including Chairman Margi, MK Hila and Zane, MK Yitzhak Pindros, MK Eti Attia, MK. Like the intellect, MK Nir Barkat and MK Keren Barak. MK Toporovsky announced that he would raise his proposals as reservations for the plenary bill.

As stated, at the end of the hearing, Chairman Margie announced that he would ask the committee’s attorney general, Adv. Itai Atzmon, not to put the bill on the plenary table, until progress was made in the airline’s outline. CEO of El Al, Gonen Ussishkin, Addressed this and said: “These are not days as a matter of course. We are 95% of the workforce in the IDF and we run out of money. We will endeavor to summarize the outline with the Treasury in the coming days. The company’s intention to return all the money to its customers and the bill will help us do that. “

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