“Traveler First: Hajj, Umrah Passengers to benefits from GACA new executive regulation

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RIYADH — Millions of passengers will be the beneficiaries of the new executive regulation of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) that came to into force on Monday, Nov. 20. The executive regulation, which replaced the existing one, consists of 30 articles that deal mainly with passenger’s rights and obligations, the GACA said in a statement.

According to the statement, the executive regulation includes provisions that clearly spell out rights and obligations of passengers with the aim of improving the quality of air transport services and the travel experience to and from the Kingdom’s airports and within the airports.

The executive regulation came into force 90 days after the date of its issuance on Aug. 23 this year. In conjunction with the enforcement of the regulation, the GACA launched an awareness campaign titled “Traveler First” to educate travelers about their rights as well as about the regulations that ensure their protection in the face of any sudden challenges or obstacles that they may encounter during their flights. This helps inform them on how to deal with such situations and to know about the compensation entitled to them.

In its awareness campaign, the authority emphasized the procedures that the affected travelers must follow when any delays or cancellation of flights, or other problems occur, so as to ensure that they obtain their full rights. The GACA stressed the need for the traveler to contact the concerned airline first, and if he does not receive a response within seven days, then he must submit the complaint to the GACA to take the necessary action against the air carrier.

GACA Vice President for Quality and Traveler Experience Eng. Abdulaziz Aldahmash emphasized that the new regulation reflects the authority’s interest in the satisfaction of passengers, and its keenness to improve the travel experience in the Kingdom’s skies, by protecting passengers from any sudden changes in air traffic, and providing them with better options. “As of yesterday, travelers to and from the Kingdom enjoy unprecedented means of protection, guaranteeing their rights in the event of facing any problems resulting from the delay or cancellation of flights,” he said while calling on travelers to take advantage of the “Traveler First” campaign launched by the authority, so that they know the full provisions of the executive regulation and how to claim their rights.

Aldahmash said that the new regulations reflect the GACA’s keenness to adhere to the slogan “Traveler First,” by providing a safe and smooth travel experience, and providing services of international standards to travelers. “Through this regulation, we contribute to achieving the goals of the National Aviation Strategy and improving the travel experience in the Kingdom,” he said.

The regulation included 30 articles that guarantee the passenger’s right to receive proper care, support and compensation, amounting up to 150- 200 percent of the ticket value. The compensation will be given in the event of departure of flight ahead of schedule or delay in departure or cancellation of flights, as well as in the event of refusal to board the plane due to overbooking, and downgrading. Some of these compensations amount to 150 percent and 200 percent of the ticket value, it was stipulated in the new regulation.

The new regulation guarantees passengers, upon loss of luggage, a financial compensation equivalent to SR6568. In the event of damage, defect or delay of baggage, the passenger is entitled to get a financial compensation not exceeding SR6568.

The regulation also guaranteed compensation to travelers in the event of adding a stopover point that was not announced when confirming the reservation of ticket. The regulation clarified the obligations of both the passengers and the air carrier.

The regulations also deal with the rights of passengers with disabilities and special requirements. The regulations guaranteed the rights of customers, who are traveling on board chartered flights, especially the seasonal Hajj and Umrah trips.