Airlines owe two billion SEK to Swedish travel agencies and tour operators
Airlines from all over the world owe Swedish travel agencies and tour operators SEK 2 billion for travel canceled due to corona. Although the reimbursement obligation is statutory, most airlines do not pay. “In the end, consumers risk losing their money,” said Didrik von Seth, secretary general of the travel industry association SRF in a press release.
Because of the corona outbreak, most airlines now refuse to refund air tickets for travel agents and tour operators. The airlines’ international interest organization IATA writes in an open letter that it is the best solution right now, and that it is in practice impossible for airlines to maintain the value chain in the airline industry.
According to IATA, the airlines’ repayment liabilities amount to approximately SEK 350 billion. The travel industry association SRF estimates that the debt to Swedish travel agencies and tour operators even today amounts to SEK 2 billion. A travel agency or tour operator is obliged under the Package Travel Act to reimburse the entire cost of a canceled trip within 14 days.
– Consumers have the right to get their money back. Now travel agencies and tour operators are squeezed between two sides. They are obliged to pay back to consumers, but do not receive any reimbursement from the airlines themselves. Then consumers lose their money and travel companies risk bankruptcy, said Didrik von Seth in a press release.
To resolve the situation, SRF has proposed to the Government that it immediately set up a fund of SEK 6 billion. This corresponds to the expected amount the airlines will owe if today’s situation persists for the rest of the year. Travelers who are entitled to a refund should be able to receive money from the fund. The fund is self-financed by travelers paying a fee of SEK 5 for a flight trip and SEK 25 for a package trip over the next 20 years. A similar solution already exists in Denmark.
– We do not know if there is a political opposition to this solution, or why the government is delaying to give notice. If we do not get a solution, ordinary people will lose large sums and thousands of employees risk their jobs, ”said Didrik von Seth.
SRF’s proposal to the government
– SRF proposes that the government immediately establish a fund of SEK 6 billion, which is administered by the Chamber of Commerce.
– SEK 6 billion of the fund will be repaid in 20 years. This is done through a fee of SEK 5 per flight and person, and SEK 25 per package trip and person.
– In order to facilitate handling and minimize the work of the Chamber College, SRF proposes temporarily re-establishing the Travel Guarantee Board, which assesses travelers’ reimbursement requirements.
– The Travel Guarantee Committee should be filled by representatives from the travel industry, consumers and the Chamber of Commerce.
Reported by Viggo Cavling Travel News Sweden