Genoa - Should current disruptions persist, and in the face of a lack of remedial plans, starting September 15, Catalan airline Volotea, the main operator at the Genoa airport, will be obliged to suspend all ticket sales and flight operations in Italy, and to provide compensation to passengers already holding tickets.
The warning came in a note from Alessio Quaranta, director of Italy’s Civil Aviation Authority (the supervisory authority of the sector, under the Ministry of Transport), who also informed its homologous Spanish authority.
“We have noted,” he explained. “frequent cancellations, overbooking and prolonged delays, causing considerable issues for consumers, especially during this period of peak summer travel, in which air travel is commonly used by vacation makers.”ENAC has called on Volotea to bring their operations in line with their programme of flights, and to make every possible effort to meet commitments resulting from the sale of tickets, while reducing cases of overbooking and cancellations.
The Authority has received numerous complaints from travelers for the carrier’s failure to comply with the EU Regulation 261/2004, and has informed it that when its complaint verification procedure is completed, should the reported violations be confirmed, maximum fines will be issued.
Also to be taken into account is the fact that the carrier’s lack of compliance with regulation has come up repeatedly, not just during the current season, but also in past summer seasons. Quaranta’s statement comes on the heels of an audit that ENAC initiated earlier this month involving not just Volotea, but also other large low-cost companies operating in Italy: Blue Panorama, Ryanair and Vueling.
While ENAC has not specified which instance of irregularity alerted the authority, some have made headline news; at the beginning of July, Volotea was responsible for a mega-delay of 31 hours on a flight between Orio al Serio and Lampedusa due to a breakdown, and another 14-hour delay on the same route a few weeks later.
In Genoa, just to mention the most reported instance, on July 25 a scheduled flight for Olbia was canceled, a repeat of what had occurred in December with a flight bound for Naples. Yesterday evening, as our daily went to press, the airline had not issued any comments regarding the charges leveled by ENAC.