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80% of MPs want airline holiday sales within Atol

Eight out of ten MPs (81%) agree that airline holiday sales should be included within the Atol consumer protection scheme, according to new research.

MPs from all parties support extended consumer protection, with 93% of Liberal Democrats, 91% of Labour MPs, and 63% of Conservatives supportive, according to the results of an Abta poll of 150 MPs released ahead of of tomorrow’s House of Commons debate on Atol reform.

Abta estimates that 38% of the public travelling on flight-based holidays remain unprotected by the Atol scheme of financial protection.

Including holidays sold by airlines within the Atol scheme would both help reduce consumer confusion and ensure more travellers are protected, the association claims.

The House of Commons debate will focus on the Transport Select Committee’s report, which recommends that airline holiday sales should be included in the Atol scheme.

The report was published in April when Flight-Plus and other Atol reforms were introduced, and states that fundamental reform of Atol is needed and that the changes introduced by the government do not go far enough.

The Westminster debate will be a further opportunity for MPs to call for comprehensive consumer protection reform ensuring that the anomaly whereby airline holiday sales are not regulated in the same way as all other holidays is resolved, Abta says.

Chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “For too long, successive governments have left millions of people travelling without financial protection whilst at the same time allowing airlines an undeserved commercial advantage over their competitors. This is grossly unfair to consumers and to large sections of the travel industry.

“There is strong cross-party support to bring airlines into the Atol scheme and we welcome the support from the Transport Select Committee in achieving this.

“The only voices raised against bringing airline holiday sales into the Atol scheme are the airlines themselves, keen on maintaining the status quo.

“The Civil Aviation Bill will soon be law, and with that, the government will have the power to take action to finally remedy this unacceptable and illogical state of affairs. With MPs onside, the government must seize this opportunity.”

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