Former Abta head of consumer affairs Keith Richards is to chair the Civil Aviation Authority’s new consumer panel.
He is to work with the regulator in shaping its role and composition as part of a plan to have the panel operational this summer.
Richards has acted as a mediator and member of Abta’s travel disputes arbitration panel after leaving a full-time role at the association in 2010.
A barrister by profession, Richards was also a campaigns lawyer for Which?
Dame Deirdre Hutton, chairman of the CAA said: “As a regulator we must ensure that everything we do has the consumer in mind, as our central duty is to protect them.
“The consumer panel under Keith’s leadership will play an important role to check and challenge, and ensure that we are ambitious in our efforts to improve choice and value for air passengers.”
Richards said: “Air travellers in the UK benefit from a diverse and competitive aviation industry that clearly offers a good range of choice across different price levels, but anyone who reads the papers every day knows there is room to improve life for the flying public.
“In this role, I will be able to draw on my experience in the travel industry, as a consumer advocate, and of global regulation in other sectors, to closely scrutinise the CAA in its work as well as to support and encourage it, with the aim of ensuring that it places the interests of the travelling public right at the heart of everything it does.”