LONDON – The Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority wants to fine SAS (SK) due to the company not refunding airline tickets on time. The deadline for repayment in Norway is seven days, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, several airlines have not yet managed to pay all their customers for canceled flights.

The Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority (Luftfartstilsynet) has started to become tired of the airlines not refunding tickets for canceled flights during the corona pandemic. Now the NCAA strikes with fines.

Widerøe (WF) has completed all refunds for its passengers, while Norwegian Air (DY) expects them to finish by the end of October, with SAS it is worse.

SAS has several hundred thousand claims they have not yet processed and the airline state to the Civil Aviation Authority that the company does not expect to be up to date with refunds before the end of the year.

CEO for the Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority, Lars Kobberstad

Will Hit SAS the Hardest

SAS has a deadline to the end of November to repay all customers. “If SAS does not comply with this deadline, a fine of one million NOK per month starting 1. December,” said Lars Kobberstad, CEO of the Civil Aviation Authority, tells NRK.

The Civil Aviation Authority will nevertheless keep a watchful eye on the two companies that will not be fined immediately.

Kobberstad points out that the Civil Aviation Authority has had a close and good dialogue with the airlines, and will remain so until the situation is resolved. “We experience that there has been a positive development in how the airlines have prioritized this after we raised the concern with them before the summer holidays. It has taken a long time and now it is time to meet the requirements, so we set a deadline,” he says.

Photo: Luca FLores

More Automation

The NCAA calls for faster repayment routines and believes that automatic reimbursement will help passengers get their money refunded faster.

” The corona pandemic with so many settings has revealed a need for better solutions and systems when it comes to reimbursements,” Kobberstad says.

He adds that the NCAA has a great understanding of the demanding situation the airlines are in, and it has not been expected that they can comply with the regulations until now.

Photo: Luca FLores

SAS in Dialogue

SAS tells NRK that the airline is in good dialauge with the NCAA and “will continue to do so.”

“We see the Civil Aviation Authority’s decision is an expression of the impatience that prevails, but we also want to add that we are in an unjustified situation,” says press ochief for SAS Norge John Eckhoff to NRK. He emphasizes that it is difficult for SAS to give an estimate of when the company will have completed the refunds.

SAS Norge Press Chief John Eckhoff

Featured image: Luca Flores