The liberalisation of the European air transport market has generated significant benefits for consumers: a wider choice of air services and intense price competition between air carriers, which has resulted in significantly lower fares. To limit any potential negative impacts that this might have on the quality of service delivered to air passengers and consumers, a number of measures have been taken at European Union (EU)-level to protect them. The most significant of these, Regulation (EC) 261/2004, introduced rules on compensation and assistance in the event of denied boarding, cancellations, long delays and involuntary downgrading. A number of other key legislative texts provide a European framework for the establishment and protection of passenger rights for air travellers.
However, there is consensus among the industry, regulators and passengers that there are issues with the application and enforcement of some areas of air passenger rights, particularly those stemming from Regulation (EC) 261/2004. In March 2013, the Commission proposed a revision of Regulation 261/2004, but the proposal has been on hold since November 2015.