The study on how NEBs implement EU 1107/2006 across Europe continues with an interview with Nadežda Machútová, Director General of the Slovak Trade Inspection (STI).
The Slovak Trade Inspection (STI) (Consumer Protection is the body responsible for enforcing of the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility travelling by air according to Regulation EC 1107/2006.
The first question is about the national legal framework. "The Slovak Trade Inspection (STI) is the body responsible for enforcing of the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility travelling by air according to Regulation EC 1107/2006 – as a NEB Slovakia," Mrs Machútová explained. "The STI can impose the fine (administrative penalty) according to Consumer Protection Act."
Under Slovak Law, those found breaching the regulation may be fined up to €66,000. However, the legal framework does not foresee compensation for victims. "The STI does not have the obligation to require the air carrier to pay compensation to a passenger in case wheelchairs or other mobility equipment or assistive devices are lost or damaged in the airport or transported on board aircraft," Mrs Machútová points out. "In these cases we recommend to the passengers to request the assistance of the European Consumer Centre (ECC). The passenger may ask for the assistance of ECC in reclaiming their individual rights or may demand their rights on court in civil proceedings."
Enforcement powers are yet to be tested in the Slovak Republic. "The Slovak Trade Inspection (as a NEB Slovakia) hasn’t received any complaint until now. Therefore, there is not any open case," the STI Director General reveals.
No complaints do not mean the administration relaxes its monitoring duties. The STI actively monitors compliance with the regulation via on-site inspections. "In August 2011 the STI carried out investigations at 6 Slovak international airports according to EC Regulation 1107/2006. The inspectors did not find any serious deficiencies," Mrs Machútová concluded.