The Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association has called on the UK Government to take urgent action on consumer financial protection legislation following the failure of XL Leisure Group.
In a statement, the association called for the immediate introduction of two new elements to existing legislation.
- An obligation on all UK airlines to be licensed within the Civil Aviation Aauthority’s ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s Licence) regime, which provides for the protection of money paid by consumers to airlines, when they book air travel alone, or with ancillary services (eg transfers, accommodation) – either via an intermediary such as a travel agent, or direct with the airline (eg via its website)
- Expansion of the recently-introduced ‘£1 customer levy’ scheme, operated by the CAA, to include all travel arrangements – regardless of what the bookings comprise (eg air travel only or together with ancillaries such as transfers, accommodation), or how they are made (eg via an intermediary such as a travel agent, or direct with the airline)
SPAA council member Sandy MacPherson said: “A golden opportunity for the UK government to introduce a coherent and comprehensive consumer financial protection regime – which everyone could both understand and depend upon – was missed when the current £1 Levy passed into legislation, and as the SPAA warned, our fear that a major airline or tour operator failure would throw into sharp relief, the deficiencies of the current system has come to pass, with deeply regrettable results.
“Leisure and business travellers alike have demonstrated their willingness to make a minimal payment – in the form of the £1 Levy – in fair exchange for peace of mind, prior to and during their travel. They deserve nothing less than a simple, transparent, comprehensive system of financial protection, and within the SPAA, we will re-double our efforts to bring about such a welcome and sensible development of the legislation.”