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13 May 2020
The government recently introduced additional measures to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic (Prime Ministerial Decree dated 26 April 2020).(1) A number of specific rules were introduced for the transport of airline passengers which must be complied with by airlines and airports to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Italy. The new rules will be in force until 17 May 2020, but they remain subject to extension or amendments in light of the continuously evolving scenario.
The decree introduced the following operational measures:
The decree also introduced the following administrative measures:
Further, Law 27/2020 (which sets out measures to strengthen the national health service and provide financial support to the Italian economy in connection with the COVID-19 emergency) has introduced a new regulation for the refund of flight tickets.
In summary, air carriers will be allowed to refund passenger by either returning the ticket price or offering a voucher for the same value valid for one year. These two alternatives will apply to refund requests submitted by passengers that could not take a flight due to the travel restrictions caused by the pandemic, as well as where an airline exercised the right to withdraw from the contract of carriage by giving prior notice to customers (specifically where flight services could not be performed because of measures adopted by national authorities, international authorities or foreign countries due to the COVID-19 emergency). In the latter case, air carriers will refund passengers within 30 days from receipt of the withdrawal notice by refunding the ticket price or offering a voucher for the same value valid for one year. Pursuant to the new provisions, by offering vouchers, airlines will fulfil any mandatory refund obligations and no acceptance will be required by passengers.
Notably, for all tickets purchased for flights scheduled to have taken place from 11 March 2020 to 30 September 2020 (including services to be provided abroad and services to be provided in favour of foreign contracting parties), where the flight services are not performed due to the COVID-19 emergency, the consideration already paid by passengers can be refunded by a voucher for the same value valid for one year.
For further information on this topic please contact Laura Pierallini at Studio Legale Pierallini e Associati by telephone (+39 06 88 41 713) or email (email@example.com). The Studio Legale Pierallini e Associati website can be accessed at www.studiopierallini.it.
(1) For an overview of the previous measures, please see "Government measures to mitigate effects of COVID-19".
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