Saudi Arabia announces new airline compensation rules, up to 200% of airfare for delays, cancellations

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Saudi Arabia’s civil aviation authority has announced new passenger rights protection regulations, for passengers affected by airline or airport disruptions.

The new regulations, set to come into effect from November 20, 2023, include every stage of the air travel journey, covering ticketing, in-flight services, baggage handling, and catering to passengers with special needs, including those with reduced mobility.

“The new regulations are designed to create a better passenger experience, supporting the Kingdom’s broader aviation sector growth objectives,” the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) said in a statement on Friday.

Compensation provisions

As part of the newly introduced reforms, passengers will be entitled to compensation of up to 200 per cent of their ticket value under situations like flight delays, cancellations, overbooking, and unexpected stopovers. Lost or damaged baggage could lead to compensation of approximately SR6,568.

The regulations also cater to 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.

“These changes reflect GACA’s focus on putting the passenger first, by strengthening regulations that secure better service quality for passengers,” said Eng. Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al Dahmash, the Vice President of GACA for Quality and Passenger Experience. “The regulations cover new ground in supporting passengers affected by travel disruptions and support the Kingdom’s broader Saudi Aviation Strategy growth agenda.