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Airlines would pay compensation to people flying abroad if their flight is delayed or canceled, according to a bill that passed its preliminary reading in the Knesset yesterday.

Twenty MKs voted in favor of the bill, which was sponsored by a group of lawmakers led by Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al). The only vote against came from Yaakov Katz (National Union).

Under the bill, people flying distances of up to 1,500 kilometers - a range that includes common destinations like Greece, Turkey and Cyprus - would receive compensation totaling 30 percent of their ticket price should their flight be delayed by more than two and a half hours.

Passengers traveling between 1,500 and 3,500 kilometers would get a 50 percent rebate if their flight were delayed by more than three hours, and those flying over 3,500 kilometers would be compensated to the tune of 75 percent of the ticket price if delayed for over four hours. The rebates would be rendered within a week of the flight cancelation or delay.

Tibi said the bill is intended to protect air travelers from airlines' "negligence and abuse," adding that such protections have been in place in Europe for six years already. Thousands of travelers could benefit from the proposed regulations, he said.