Tour Operators: Insolvency

Transport written question – answered on 22nd October 2008.

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Photo of Anne McIntosh Anne McIntosh Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport

(1) if he will extend protection under Air Travel Organisers Licensing (ATOL) to all passengers flying on aircraft departing from the UK regardless of the manner in which those flights were booked; and if he will extend the same protection to those passengers who booked their accommodation independently of their flight as that enjoyed under ATOL by those who book their flights and accommodation as a package with a tour operator;

(2) if he will impose a £1 levy on all passengers departing on flights from the UK to extend Air Travel Organisers Licensing cover to all passengers in the event of financial failure of an airline;

(3) what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the protections provided by the EU Package Travel Directive in relation to the state of the airline industry; and if he will press for its amendment by the European Commission and EU Council of Transport Ministers to ensure that all providers of overseas leisure travel arrangements have adequate protection for consumers.

Photo of Jim Fitzpatrick Jim Fitzpatrick Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The Government are keen to learn the lessons of XL's failure and over the coming weeks officials and Ministers will be discussing a range of issues arising with stakeholders with a view to improving the experience of passengers in future airline or tour operator failures.

The package travel directive (PTD) is currently under review by the European Commission, and the Commission have recently announced plans to conduct a consumer detriment study to begin this work. In 2007, the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform contributed to an initial consultation on the review of the PTD which encouraged the Commission to conduct a radical review of the directive. The Government will work to ensure that UK experiences are considered as part of the review.

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