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Consumer protection and liability

Airfares

Are airfares regulated in your jurisdiction?

Airfares are not regulated in the United Arab Emirates.

Passenger Protection

What rules and liabilities are air carriers subject to in respect of:

(a) Flight delays and cancellations?

There are no specific liabilities in the United Arab Emirates that apply to flight delays and cancellations. Each carrier is expected to have an internal set of procedures in place.

(b) Oversold flights?

There are no specific liabilities in the United Arab Emirates that apply to oversold flights. Each carrier is expected to have an internal set of procedures in place.

(c) Denied boarding?

There are no specific liabilities in the United Arab Emirates that apply to passengers who are denied boarding. Each carrier is expected to have an internal set of procedures in place.

(d) Access for disabled passengers?

There are no specific liabilities in the United Arab Emirates that apply to access for disabled passengers. Each carrier is expected to have its own internal rules and regulations concerning passengers with disabilities in place (eg, Emirates has specific guidelines for disabled passengers).

(e) Lost, damaged or destroyed luggage.

There are no specific liabilities in the United Arab Emirates that apply to lost, damaged or destroyed luggage. Article 17(2) of Federal Decree 13/2000 concerning the Convention for Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air 1999 states that:

The carrier is liable for damage sustained in case of destruction or loss of, or of damage to, checked baggage upon condition only that the event which caused the destruction, loss or damage took place on board the aircraft or during any period within which the checked baggage was in the charge of the carrier.”

(f) Retention and protection of passenger data?

There are no specific liabilities in the United Arab Emirates that apply to the retention and protection of passenger data. Nonetheless, the importance of protecting individual privacy is highlighted in various federal laws. Article 31 of the Constitution 1971 states that the “freedom of communication by post, telegraph and other means of communication and the confidentiality thereof are guaranteed in accordance with the law”.

Article 378(6) of Federal Law 3/1987 promulgating the Penal Code provides that a person shall be detained or fined if he or she prejudices the privacy of an individual or family (ie, if a person publishes by any means news, photos or comments concerning the private or family life of individuals, even if the information is true and correct).

Article 106(2) of Federal Law 5/1985 (the UAE Civil Transactions Law, as amended) states that a person is liable for all acts that cause harm. This includes harm caused by the unauthorised use of another party’s personal or private information.

Air carriers are expected to have their own policies and measures in place to deal with and handle sensitive data belonging to their customers. 

Cargo

What rules and liabilities apply to the air carriage of cargo?

The Civil Aviation Law sets out general provisions regarding the carriage of cargo by air. Article 13 sets out the following list of articles that must not be carried on board an aircraft without prior permission from the relevant authority and subject to such conditions as may be specified by the competent authority:

  • explosives and fireworks, except as required to operate the aircraft or give prescribed signals;
  • firearms and ammunition;
  • nuclear substances, radioactive isotopes and all related substances;
  • poisonous gases;
  • germs and hazardous materials; and
  • any other articles which are prohibited from being carried as listed by the competent authority.

Every major UAE air carrier has its own rules and regulations setting out specific information regarding the carriage of cargo and such information is generally available to the public on its official website.

Marketing and Advertising

Do any special rules apply to the marketing and advertising of aviation services?

No specific rules or restrictions apply to marketing and advertising aviation services in the United Arab Emirates.

However, the UAE National Media Council oversees the UAE media. It requires that radio and television stations respect UAE policies and cultural heritage and apply the highest professional and moral standards.  

Complaints Handling

Do any special rules apply to consumer complaints handling in the aviation industry?

No special rules apply to consumer complaints handling specifically in the aviation industry. However, Article 4(6)(4) of Federal Law 24/2006 concerning Consumer Protection provides that the UAE Ministry of Economy’s Consumer Protection Department is responsible for receiving and processing consumer complaints in the United Arab Emirates.    

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