The Liberal-National Coalition has called for the introduction of a bill dubbed ‘pay on delay’ which would see carriers compensate customers who are impacted by flight delays.
Liberal senator Dean Smith and Nationals senator Bridget McKenzie announced last week their intentions to move on “a bill for an Act to require the transport minister to make rules when prescribing carriers’ obligations, and for related purposes,” later this month when parliament returns.
“Australians deserve an aviation industry where planes take off and arrive on time, and their bags arrive with them,” a statement from the two senators read.
“The Pay on Delay Bill is designed to clean up Australia’s airline industry through ensuring concrete protections for passengers to, from and within Australia and its territories in the event of flight delays, cancellations, or denials of boarding.
“The Bill will clarify a passenger’s ticket is on a particular flight, to a particular destination, at a particular time.
“The Albanese government has failed to ensure travelling Australians are not taken advantage of by our airlines and instead have spent the past 18 months running a protection racket for Qantas who represent more than 60 per cent of the Australian airline industry.”
In the European Union, a similar scheme is already in place that sees passengers who are delayed by over three hours are entitled to between $485 and $1,165 depending on the length of the trip.
2023 saw widespread criticism of the Australian aviation sector, particularly around claims of slot hoarding or the inability to secure slots in the case of smaller airlines (such as Bonza).
Monique Ryan, an independent MP for Kooyong in Melbourne called for a scheme similar to that in the EU which she believes can also address the issue of slots in Australian airports.
“Airlines like Qantas are acting less like national treasures and more like the mafia of the sky,” Ryan told The Guardian in November.
“Not only would this protect consumer rights, it would reduce cancellations and delays. Airlines won’t be so interested in cancelling or delaying flights if they have to pay up to $100,000 in compensation per flight.”