Macau: Minimum Air Transport Passenger Rights

Last Updated: 2 March 2011
Article by Lee Tam

To provide increased protection of air passenger rights and to enhance Macau's aviation service industry Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) is set to implement a new administrative regulation covering air passenger rights.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Macau (AACM) began drafting a new administrative regulation in 2008, stipulating minimum rights afforded to air passengers in cases of denied boarding, flight cancellation or delay. The provisions look set to be implemented this year.

Macau is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China and is therefore permitted to introduce its own laws to include those concerning the rights of air passengers. In drafting the new administrative regulation reference has been made to air passenger rights laws and regulations applicable in Europe, USA, Canada and Brazil.

The new regulation affords rights to (i) passengers departing from Macau International Airport, and (ii) passengers departing from an airport located outside Macau and flying into Macau International Airport, if the operating air carrier holds an air operator certificate issued by the AACM, unless passengers are afforded rights and assistance under available provisions in the place of departure.

The following is a summary of relevant provisions under the current draft of the new administrative regulation.

 Denied boarding  

  1. Passengers concerned shall be offered the choice between:

    1. reimbursement of full ticket price, for the unused part(s) of the journey and for the part(s) already made if the flight is no longer serving any purpose in relation to the passenger's original travel plan, together with a return flight to the first point of departure (when relevant); or
    2. re-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination.

  2. If there are insufficient volunteers, those passengers denied boarding against their will shall also be offered free of charge:

    • meals and refreshments in a reasonable relation to the waiting time;
    • hotel accommodation if an overnight stay becomes necessary;
    • transport between the airport and place of accommodation;

      and
    • two telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or emails

They will also have the right to compensation for damage caused up to MOP 40,000 (approx US$4,899).   

 

 Flight cancellation  

 Passengers concerned shall be entitled to:

  1. reimbursement of their full ticket price, for the unused part(s) of the journey and for the part(s) already made if the flight is no longer serving any purpose in relation to the passenger's original travel plan, together with a return flight to the first point of departure (when relevant), or re-routing under comparable transport conditions to their final destination;
  2. free of charge:

    • meals and refreshments in a reasonable relation to the waiting time;
    • hotel accommodation if an overnight stay becomes necessary;
    • transport between the airport and place of accommodation; and
    • two telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or emails; and

  3. compensation for damage caused up to MOP 40,000 (approx US$4,899), unless the passengers have been informed of the flight cancellation at least 15 days before the departure time.   

 

 Delay  

  1. When the carrier reasonably expects a flight to be delayed for over three hours, the carrier shall offer passengers, free of charge, meals and refreshments in a reasonable relation to the waiting time.
  2. For delays of five hours or more, the carrier shall offer passengers a choice of reimbursement of their full ticket price, for the unused part(s) of the journey and for the part(s) already made if the flight is no longer serving any purpose in relation to the passenger's original travel plan, together with a return flight to the first point of departure (when relevant).
  3. Where the carrier reasonably expects a flight to be delayed for eight hours or more and an overnight stay becomes necessary, and the passenger does not opt for ticket reimbursement, the carrier shall also offer, free of charge:

    • hotel accommodation;
    • transport between the airport and place of accommodation;
    • two telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or emails.

The new regulation also provides for financial penalties should air carriers fail to comply with their obligations.

The initial drafting has been completed, followed by a one-month consultation period during which the AACM solicited views from local aviation and tourism sectors. The AACM is now reviewing the results and considering appropriate amendments. A final draft will then be produced. The new regulation is expected to be implemented during 2011 once the necessary legal procedures are completed.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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