ABTA Chair urges trade unity

ABTA Chair urges trade unity

ABTA Chairman John McEwan has highlighted travel trade unity as the key to tackling future issues in the industry. Speaking at the Visit USA AGM last week, McEwan urged the industry to approach the government collectively when it came to issues such as consumer protection and Air Passenger Duty (APD). “There is a lack of clarity [in the Travel Package Directive] so fighting for this is key,” he explained. “We [ABTA] have requested for a review of the Package Travel Directive to broaden protection but this takes three or four years to get in to law. Also we are trying to see if ATOL can be extended to cover any holiday involving a flight [known as Flight Plus].” This protection would cover online retailers as well as high street, but not include flight-only agents. Meanwhile, McEwan said the association planned to meet with Transport Minister Philip Hammond to discuss changing APD to a per-plane duty. He indicated that the Europe Emission Control Legislation, set to be introduced in 2012, may require APD to be removed as it would mean taxing airlines twice. However, McEwan said air travel would be affected if airports do not develop. “[The lack of] airport expansion will be a problem in the future because there will not be enough capacity and more passengers will use Europe as a gateway,” he explained. “There will also be external affairs such as the ash cloud or airline disputes, but I think the industry has been resilient to these.”

Gary Marshall
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Gary Marshall
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