Tui Travel has urged the European Commission to put the customer at the heart of its reform of the Package Travel Directive.

With a draft proposal due to be published in July, the travel giant’s deputy chief executive Johan Lundgren said there was an understanding of a need for change.

And he said if the rules can be clearly defined in Europe that would provide a platform for companies outside of the jurisdiction of the European Union to be dealt with if they are operating within European markets.

“Our expectation and hope is that there will be a level playing field and everyone will be covered by the same directive. I do not believe, as some are claiming, that consumers could tell the difference between what business model you are operating as a business and that therefore you should not be part of the protection scheme.

“I hope that the commissioner has recognised the fact that from a consumer perspective there is no difference between various players, therefore everyone should be held responsible for the same protection.

“It remains to be seen, we will see what comes out. We have made our points to the commissioner in person. The most important thing is everyone operates a level playing field.”

Lundgren said airlines selling hotels with flights should be included in the regulations because as far as the customer perceives it this is a package and that the ground has shifted since the 1990s when most airlines were flag carriers and therefore considered to be beyond inclusion in regulation.

“You have to look at this from the consumers’ point of view. If we cannot make clear distinctions we have to assume everything that the consumer will buy should be and will be protected regardless of who they buy it from.

“One we have a clear framework to work from and have done our job in our own backyard, we have a much better chance to promote this sort of approach in other source markets as well.”