20 March 2007

Compensation for delay of passengers in New Zealand

Today a media statement UPDATED issued on 19 March 2007 by the Minister of Consumer Affairs, Judith Tizard, about domestic air passenger rights to compensation when delayed has been headline news in the Herald and the Press, and was carried on the TVNZ web site. The TV3 web site reports on the Minister's interest in a possible code of conduct for airlines.

This followed a news story in the Press last week reporting on two passengers being denied boarding on Air New Zealand flights allegedly because of overbooking. Overbooking itself is not illegal. The Ministry of Consumer Affairs initially urged passengers to read the fine print on their tickets. Unfortunately it turned out that most New Zealand domestic airlines had failed to update their fine print which referred to the Carriage by Air Act 1967 (or in some cases the Carriage Act 1967 [sic]). This Act was replaced in mid 2004 with a new Part9B (this starts at s.91U) of the Civil Aviation Act 1990 which carried over provisions relating to possible compensation for delay (New Zealand legislation is available online). The speeches in Parliament from the Third Reading (18 March 2004) of the Civil Aviation Amendment Bill are available in Hansard.

Here are the updated Air New Zealand Conditions of Carriage. At the time of writing the Qantas Conditions of Contract had yet to be corrected [they subsequently have been].

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