In the case of disputes with an air carrier, passengers should be able to contact an independent arbitration entity. Arbitration proceedings that are also supported by the air carriers on a voluntary basis offer the best prospects of success. Therefore, the Federal Ministry of Justice and the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure have held intensive talks with the air carriers in order to establish dispute settlement procedures for the air transport sector.
During these talks, agreement was reached on the benchmarks of arbitration which provide the bases for the bill; within this framework, the air carriers that are members of the German Aviation Association (BDL) and of the Board of Airline Representatives in Germany e.V. (BARIG) agreed to voluntarily participate in arbitration procedures. This achievement means added value for all passengers and air carriers since in the case of successful arbitration, the time and costs of a legal dispute can be saved. In most cases, following successful arbitration, the relationship between customers and carriers is better than after a lawsuit. In other sectors of the economy, such as the insurance industry, arbitration has for a long time been an example of best practice.
On 21 March 2013, the German Bundestag adopted the bill on arbitration in air transport. Claims by passengers arising as from 1 November 2013 will - if they are not resolved by the air carriers within two months - be settled within the context of the new arbitration arrangements as from 1 January 2014. The bill, however, imposes on air carriers that do not want to voluntarily rely on arbitration the obligation to take part in arbitration procedures. In such cases, they are subject to official arbitration at the Federal Office of Justice. Apart from the two major associations (BDL, BARIG), which agreed to participate in voluntary arbitration procedures, Ryanair had already joined the Schlichtungsstelle für den öffentlichen Personenverkehr (söp - German Conciliation Body for Public Transport) on 20 March 2013. Therefore, passengers of Ryanair can already contact the arbitration entity today.