The Chamber of Deputies approved this Tuesday (26) an MP (provisional measure) that changes rules in the air sector and allows the return of free baggage check-in of up to 23 kg on domestic flights and up to 30 kg on international flights.
Today, passengers are entitled to a free carry-on bag of up to ten kilos, to take in the cabin. To check bags, companies may charge for the service.
The return of free luggage, however, still has a long way to go.
The MP has the force of law, but to become permanent, it needs the approval of the National Congress and the president. The term of validity of the MP is 60 days, which can be extended for another 60 days. Therefore, if the text is not approved by June 1, the MP is no longer valid.
As already approved by the House, the text now goes to the Senate. If it is approved there without changes, it goes to the sanction or veto of President Jair Bolsonaro.
What does the MP approved by the House say
Named “Simple Flight”, the MP was edited by the government in December last year to improve the business environment of the aviation sector with the promise of cost reduction, rate cuts and increased investments to improve connections with more remote.
On Tuesday, during the vote on the MP, the deputies approved an amendment presented by deputy Perpétua Almeida (PCdoB-AC), establishing the return of free baggage clearance.
“Airlines are abusing the price of tickets, it is not fair to charge for luggage,” Almeida said in the session.
The government was against it, but did not have the strength to stop the amendment from being passed. There were 273 votes in favor and 148 against.
The Republicans, who are part of the governing base, oriented their bench to vote in favor of the measure proposed by the PCdoB. The PL, the party of the chief executive, and the PP, of the mayor, Arthur Lira, and the chief minister of the Civil House, Ciro Nogueira, were “faithful” to the government and gave directions against the amendment.
Airlines are against free shipping
Abear (Brazilian Association of Airlines), which represents companies such as Gol and Latam, says that the MP is positive for reducing bureaucracy in the sector, but disagrees with the free baggage allowance.
“The government was right to send an MP that helps the air sector in the post-crisis recovery from the new coronavirus pandemic, but the change in baggage charges goes in the opposite direction of the MP itself, as it reduces the country’s competitiveness”, says the president. of the entity, Eduardo Sanovicz.
Azul, which is not part of the association, is also against the change and says that the end of the charge goes against “measures to reduce bureaucracy and simplify the aviation business environment”. The company says it will continue to monitor the progress of the matter in Congress.
“Before the new rule, which has been adopted around the world for at least two decades, the value for checking baggage was diluted in the price of tickets for all customers, harming those who chose not to check their volumes. Currently, only customers who need to check baggage on their trips pay for the service”, says Azul in a statement.
Collection was allowed in the Temer government
Controversial, the charge was approved by Anac (National Civil Aviation Agency) in December 2016, under the Michel Temer government, to take effect on March 14, 2017. The idea was that the tickets would be cheaper for the consumer.
But there were challenges in court before the measure came into force. The day before, federal judge José Henrique Prescendo granted an injunction at the request of the Federal Public Ministry, barring the charge.
In the decision, the judge had argued that there was a risk of abuse of economic power by airlines and a lack of guarantees that ticket prices would actually fall.
Anac appealed the court decision and managed to release the charge at the end of April of that year.
Azul was the first company to charge for luggage, in June 2017.
For Fabrício Gonçalvez, CEO of Box Asset Management, the return of free luggage can make tickets even more expensive.
“The sector is against it, because it is being impacted by the increase in fuels and is being penalized by huge debts from the pandemic. The airline will not fail to pass this cost on to the final consumer”, he says.
* With information from Estadão Content.