More about the author: Andrew Shkadov, Manager of corporate practice at FBK-Pravo; Valentin Polyakov, the legal counsel of the corporate practice of FBK-Pravo

In recent years, Russia has been widely discussed the topic of passenger rights upon the default of the carrier, i.e. the inability of the airline to deliver passengers to the destination, due to its insolvency.

However, this problem is topical not only for our country. According to the European Association of travel agents and tour operators (The European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Association ECTAA) only since the beginning of 2012 in 9 European airlines, including major carriers like Spanair, Malev and Windjet, initiated bankruptcy proceedings. As a consequence, in Europe the protection of passenger rights is in the area of attention, as in most developed countries.

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This article attempts to describe briefly the experience of foreign countries, which can be useful when choosing the optimal model of protection of passengers ‘ rights in Russia.

To date, the European Union uses the following mechanisms to organize delivery of passengers to destination and payment of compensation in the event of default of the air carrier:

1. Provision of refund of tickets by the tour operators or travel agents.

The EU Directive (Council Directive 90/314/EEC) provides for special guarantees of the rights of passengers who purchase the ticket on the part of a tourist package. In accordance with the Directive, in case of failure of airline to fulfill its obligations to passengers of the payment performs exactly the tour operator or travel agent. While passengers who have purchased tickets separately from the package of tourist services, this act does not apply, and their rights remain unprotected.