On 17 March 2022, the Official Spanish Gazette (BOE) published the order TMA/201/2022, of 14 March, which regulates the procedure for alternative dispute resolution for air transport users on the rights recognised in the European Union in terms of compensation and assistance in the event of denied boarding, cancellation, or long delay, as well as in relation to the rights of persons with disabilities or reduced mobility, approved by the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda.
The entry into force took place the day after its publication, affecting those incidents occurring after the first day of the month following the publication of the resolution of the competent authority in the Official Spanish Gazette, accrediting the State Aviation Safety Agency (hereinafter also the Agency) as an alternative dispute resolution entity in the field of air transport user protection.
The Order shall apply to the procedure which the Agency provides for air transport users (whether they are consumers or not) to resolve disputes over the application of the following regulations:
– Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to air passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights, and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 295/91; and
– Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air.
This rule in no way precludes the exercise of the passenger’s right to resort to any out-of-court dispute resolution system accepted by the airline or airport operator.
The procedure shall be free of charge, without prejudice to the assumption of the costs of the tests by the party proposing them. For passengers, voluntary acceptance and non-binding outcome; for airlines, mandatory acceptance and binding outcome; for pre-acceding airport operators, mandatory acceptance and non-binding outcome; and for all other operators, voluntary acceptance and non-binding outcome.
Finally, it should be noted that the Agency’s decision, which will always be reasoned, as mentioned above, will be binding on the airline but not on the passenger, who may bring any civil action he or she may have against the airline.