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Consumer protection and liability

Airfares

Are airfares regulated in your jurisdiction?

Airfares are not regulated, although operators licensed for commercial flight operations must obtain approval for their flight schedules and fare tariffs from the Ministry of Transport, Maritime and Communication (Article 25 of the Civil Aviation Act). However, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has announced that it has reached an accord with domestic air carriers for a maximum fare for domestic flights, which is said to be accepted and voluntarily observed by all carriers. There is no legal basis for such restriction.

Passenger protection

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

(a) Flight delays and cancellations?

In 2011 the DGCA promulgated Regulation SHY-YOLCU governing passenger rights in case of flight delays, cancellations and denied boarding. This regulation aligns with EU Regulation 261/2004 and establishes common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in case of delays, cancellations and denied boarding. Passengers can also file claims with the commercial courts for damages and losses not covered by Regulation SHY-YOLCU.

(b) Oversold flights?

See above.

(c) Denied boarding?

See above.

(d) Access for disabled passengers?

Article 12 of Regulation SHY-YOLCU stipulates that air carriers must give priority to the carriage of disabled passengers and certified guide dogs accompanying them, and to children travelling alone.

(e) Lost, damaged or destroyed luggage?

Turkey is a signatory to the Montreal Convention 1999 and the Warsaw Convention 1929. The Civil Aviation Act contains provisions in line with these conventions on the liability of the air carrier for damages to passengers, luggage and cargo. Compensation for cargo, luggage loss, damage to passengers (death and injury) and delays is subject to limitations under the conventions.

(f) Retention and protection of passenger data?

On April 7 2016 the Act on Protection of Personal Data was published in the Official Gazette. The act is based mainly on the underlying principles of EU Directive 95/46/EC. However, the higher standards of the EU General Data Protection Regulation, which will enter into force in the European Union in May 2018, are not reflected in the act.

Under the act, the main requirement for the collection and processing of personal data is to obtain the explicit consent of the person whose data will be collected and/or processed (ie, the data subject). However, personal data can be collected and processed without the data subject’s consent if:

  • collection and processing are permitted by any specific legal provision;
  • the data subject is in a position rendering him or her unable to provide consent (eg, due to physical impossibility or lack of legal capacity) and processing is necessary to protect the data subject’s or a third party’s life or physical integrity;
  • processing is necessary to perform a contract to which the data subject will be or is a party;
  • processing is necessary in order for the data controller to perform its legal duties;
  • the personal data has been made available to the public by the data subject; or
  • processing is necessary to assign, use or protect a right.

These conditions also apply to the transfer of personal data to third parties within Turkey.

Cargo

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

Turkey is a signatory to the Montreal Convention 1999 and the Warsaw Convention 1929. The Civil Aviation Act contains provisions in line with these conventions on the liability of the air carrier for damages to passengers, luggage and cargo. Compensation for cargo, luggage loss, damage to passengers (death and injury) and delays is subject to limitations under the conventions.

Marketing and advertising

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

No.

Complaints handling

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

Consumer complaints are subject to the Consumer Rights Protection Act, which enables consumers to defend their rights and obtain remedies in a more practical and timely manner. Consumers should file their complaints with the consumer arbitration council of the relevant county or province. These councils arbitrate claims and quickly resolve conflicts. Where the parties are unsatisfied with the arbitral award, they may file suit for its cancellation before the Consumer Rights Court.

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