ABTA calls on Europe to protect all airline passengers
The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) is calling for a compulsory financial protection scheme for all air passengers travelling within Europe.
Currently, only passengers who book flight-inclusive packages or flights on charter airlines are protected against the airline's collapse by the Civil Aviation Authority's licensing scheme. Due to a long-standing anomaly, passengers who have bought scheduled flights direct from an airline are not guaranteed a refund.
Despite repeated requests by travel firms and consumer groups for the government to close the gaping loophole in passenger protection it has refused to do so, arguing that any action might leave it open to challenge under European law.
Now ABTA has asked the European Commission, which has opened a consultation into air passenger rights legislation, to extend protection to all airline passengers. ABTA has asked the British government to support its recommendation.
ABTA chief executive Mark Tanzer said: ''The Government has consistently made it clear that it would not take unilateral action to bring airlines within the scope of a financial protection scheme."
''This leaves European legislation as the only current option for pursuing this outcome."
''The European Air Passenger Rights consultation has provided us an ideal opportunity to press the case for change and if the Government has any concern for consumer interests it must support us.''
In the absence of financial protection for scheduled airline passengers, holidaymakers are urged to buy Scheduled Airline Failure Insurance to cover them against the collapse of an airline. The insurance can be bolted on to standard travel insurance policies.