STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
THE airline industry receives about 1'000 complaints a year from angry passengers in the Balearics. Two thirds of these complaints are about the airlines that operate in the islands, while the remainder relate to the operation of the islands' airports.

The principal complaints relate to lack of information on the internet, consumers' rights not being respected, delays, cancellations and, above all, loss of baggage.

The airline industry is the second most complained about after the telecommunications sector, said the Balearic Minister for Health and Consumer Affairs, Vicenc Thomas, yesterday.

Thomas made the remarks during a visit to Palma Airport where he met representatives of the main airline and airport services companies, including Air Europa, Spanair, Air Berlin, Air Nostrum, Iberia and Acciona.

The object of the meeting was to improve consumer protection in the airline industry. The meeting was attended by the Director General for Consumer Affairs, Diego Gonzalez, and the Director of Palma Airport, Nemesio Suarez, who want to see the airline participating in the voluntary Consumer Arbitration Council
The Consumer Arbitration Council is a “rational” system to resolve conflicts between the companies and the consumer, said Thomas. He said that getting it off the ground was something that “interests all of us”. Thomas added that the airlines' representatives had been “receptive” to the idea though no deal had been reached.

The Minister said that the airlines should improve their information to customers and asked them to “make an effort” to regulate themselves, especially in terms of the type of information they put on their websites.

He said that more and more people were using this resource, which made it “very important” to offer high-quality content.
Suarez, meanwhile, said he wanted to try to convince the airlines to become part of the arbitration system being developed by the Government, which was voluntary and common in many other sectors, because it would improve service and “that is what the passenger wants”.

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