Belgium to investigate airlines for misleading consumers

Belgium to investigate airlines for misleading consumers
Credit: Belga

The Economic Inspectorate has been instructed to investigate airlines to check whether they have engaged in misleading commercial practices, Federal Minister for the Economy and Consumers Nathalie Muylle announced on Wednesday.

"People going on holiday should be able to enjoy their holiday without worries and not hear a few days after booking that it is cancelled. I am instructing the Economic Inspectorate to investigate companies that sell flights and cancel them a few days later," she wrote.

Muylle herself has received e-mails from unhappy customers and read many comments on social networks from consumers complaining about such practices, according to her spokesperson.

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Many of the complaints related to TUI Fly Belgium, but the investigation will also cover other airlines.

TUI announced on Tuesday that it was cancelling a quarter of its flights during the summer season. The cancellations relate to a flight plan that had been put in place at the beginning of bookings in November - before the coronavirus crisis - for the high season.

“A few hundred thousand" customers are affected by these cancellations, according to a TUI spokesperson.

The new coronavirus (Covid-19) has hit the airline industry hard. Earlier this week, Brussels Airport’s main ground handler Swissport was declared bankrupt, just a week before the airport was set to reopen.

Many airlines, including Brussels Airlines, have also asked for state aid in order to help them face the crisis.

Jason Spinks

The Brussels Times

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