Consumer protection continues as hot topic

Consumer protection continues as hot topic

Airlines must pay towards consumer protection if the industry is to change it legislation, according to a low-cost holiday boss. “Unless airlines pay towards protection, we are wasting our time,” said Lowcost Holiday Group CEO Paul Evans. “We are going round and round talking about this issue, which five years later we would make zero process on.” He said the industry should be ‘ashamed’ of itself and should approach airlines to pay fees. “If airlines have a commercial rationale to do this and until you fix that, you will not fix the issue,” he added. Consumer protection has been a constant theme throughout the convention and yesterday Thomas Cook Group Director of Government and External Affairs Andy Cooper said the industry would have to wait until 2015 at the earliest before legislation is changed. “Some EU legislation is to come through and the Package Travel Directive is flawed,” he said. However, it was revealed that Flight Plus could be introduced in October next year. “It is likely that there will be financial protection in place for airlines [when is it confirmed], which will include Flight Plus and click-throughs,” said Cooper. Meanwhile, Cooper, CAA Director of Consumer Protection Group Richard Jackson and Travel Republic Managing Director Kane Pirie agreed that there was a need for universal repatriation, but funding is an issue. “To compete in the same market, the industry needs to be under regulation,” explained Jackson. “The trade needs to have money available.” Cooper suggested that the money should come from the government, while the industry sorts out the passengers. “The value of repatriation is 10% of the total value of failures, so it is relatively low cost,” he explained. “If that is the bit that matters, that’s what should be sorted. The government don’t want responsibility and cannot psychically handle it.”

Gary Marshall
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Gary Marshall
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