Airlines told they MUST refund passengers despite fears of collapse or risk ...

FLIGHTS have been cancelled left, right and centre over the past weeks as coronavirus brings global travel to a standstill. Many holidaymakers have been left out of pocket as companies drag their feet with issuing refunds - but now airlines have told they have to refund.

PUBLISHED: 09:13, Fri, May 1, 2020 | UPDATED: 09:47, Fri, May 1, 2020

Airlines have been instructed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to pay refunds owed. This comes despite the fact that returning money to customers could result in the collapse of certain airlines. According to the CAA, millions of customers are entitled to a cash repayment.

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However, many airlines are providing vouchers in lieu of cash refunds at the moment as they attempt to stay afloat.

The CAA has warned that carriers who flout the requirement to pay customers back could face legal action.

Customers are “entitled to receive a refund for their cancelled flights, despite the challenges the industry is currently facing,” said the authority.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has also said it will investigate businesses which do not respect cancellation rights.

READ MORE: Flights start date: When will airlines start flying again?

flights coronavirus refund ryanair easyjet british airways refunds caa news latestCoronavirus flights: According to the CAA, millions of customers are entitled to a cash repayment (Image: Getty Images)

flights coronavirus refund ryanair easyjet british airways refunds caa news latestFlights: Carriers who flout the requirement to pay customers back could face legal action (Image: Getty Images)

Customers should not be “misled or pressured” into accepting credit notes as an alternative to cash.

Andrea Coscelli, CMA chief executive, told The Times: “If we find evidence that businesses are failing to comply with consumer protection law then we will take tough enforcement action to protect those rights.”

Under European Union rules, airlines should provide a cash refund if requested within seven days.

However, as airlines become inundated with requests this is becoming an increasingly difficult deadline to meet.

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