If your airline goes bankrupt and leaves you stuck what are your legal rights? Wednesday at midday a crucial vote will be held by MEPs in Strasbourg that could clear the way for the setting up of a compensation fund for stranded passengers. Members of the Transport Committee have already backed plans for grounded flyers to be compensated. In the last decade almost 100 airlines across the EU have gone bankrupt - leaving thousands of passengers out of pocket and stuck at a foreign airport.


Sabena, Sky Europe and Olympic Airlines are just three of the large carriers that have gone bankrupt due to a combination of high fuel costs, competition and new security measures after 9/11.

Transport Chair Brian Simpson speaks of "clear loophole"

On 7 October during the plenary session in Brussels, the Chair of the all-party Transport Committee, Brian Simpson (Labour, North West of England), formally asked the European Commissioner for Transport Antonio Tajani to set up "a reserve compensation fund" and consider updating passengers' rights legislation.

He told fellow MEPs that "here we have a clear loophole and it would be preferable for all if we could work together and fill it in".

He added: "We have also floated the idea of establishing a reserve compensation fund, but this must not be seen as a demand. We merely wish to open up the debate as to what mechanism will help us best solve this problem."

Mr Simpson went on to say that "many of these people are not regular business flyers or regular flyers like ourselves, and they do not have the financial means to deal with this sort of upheaval. They are normally from those families who spend their savings on a family holiday, only to see their hard-earned money go down the drain through little fault of their own".

Transport Commissioner Tajani backs compensation

Speaking in October Commissioner Tajani told Members that "passengers should indeed receive compensation. We are working on specific measures to find the best solution". He said that one solution "would be changes in bankruptcy law in the member states".

There is a consensus across the Parliament's main political groups that the European Union needs to do more to help passengers stranded by bankrupt airlines. A Parliamentary resolution is due to be tabled later in the autumn.