The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has announced new passenger rights protection regulations, strengthening protections for passengers affected by airline or airport disruptions. The new regulations are designed to create a better passenger experience, supporting the Kingdom’s broader aviation sector growth objectives.
The new regulations will come into effect from November 20, 2023, and encompass every stage of the air travel journey, covering ticketing, boarding, in-flight services, baggage handling, and catering to passengers with special needs, including those with reduced mobility.
Compensation provisions have been strengthened and extended through the regulations, addressing situations like flight delays, cancellations, overbooking, and unexpected stopovers. Compensation in some cases will rise to 150-200 per cent of the original ticket value, whilst lost or damaged baggage could lead to compensation of approximately 6,568 Saudi Riyals. The regulations also cater to unique travel circumstances, like the Hajj and Umrah charter flights. The regulation allows passengers to request the termination of the contract with the air carrier in case the flight is delayed for a period exceeding 2 hours.
The Vice President of GACA for Quality and Passenger Experience, Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al Dahmash, emphasised the importance of these regulations, saying,
“These changes reflect GACA’s focus on putting the passenger first, by strengthening regulations that secures better service quality for passengers. The regulations cover new ground in supporting passengers affected by travel disruptions and support the Kingdom’s broader Saudi Aviation Strategy growth agenda.
The regulations have been finalised following extensive consultation with stakeholders, including the public, air service providers and international aviation sector organisations. GACA is leading efforts with airlines, airports and service providers to prepare for the implementation of the regulations.
The regulations are a key component in enabling the aviation sector’s Saudi Aviation Strategy growth objectives, including tripling passenger numbers to 330 million per annum and connecting the Kingdom with more than 250 global destinations by 2030. The Kingdom is experiencing unprecedented growth across the aviation sector, in support the Kingdom’s broader Vision 2030 tourism, travel and economic diversification objectives.