The government’s proposed six-week consultation on the Airline Insolvency Review is insufficient, Abta has said.
Responding to the government’s aviation strategy green paper, Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said the consultation would “fall short of the time required to fully consult” on the review’s conclusions “and develop the required analysis after Peter Bucks’ “very rigorous” two-year review.
The review issued its final report last month, advocating an approximately 50p per passenger levy on air tickets to protect all passengers in the event of airline insolvency. This would be irrespective of whether passengers have Atol protection.
“Abta has long argued for a comprehensive approach to consumer protection relating to airline failure. While we recognise this is a complex policy area, and that multiple tools will likely be required to provide a comprehensive solution, Abta believes the proposals represent a sensible and pragmatic basis for further consideration by government,” said Tanzer.
“However, the timeframe for consultation following the publication of the very rigorous two-year Airline Insolvency Review – just six weeks - falls short of the time required to consult fully on and develop the required analysis of an issue of such importance for travellers and the wider travel industry.
“Abta urges the government to bring forward, at the earliest opportunity, a full and detailed consultation on this matter.”
Other areas of foremost concern to Abta are Air Passenger Duty (APD) and sustainable growth.
On APD, Tanzer said Abta had long argued for taxation that takes into account “the broader impacts of aviation, including environmental factors, but does not unfairly penalise the industry or place UK airlines, and the UK economy, at a disadvantage”.
“We believe APD currently fails the above test,” said Tanzer. “There also needs to be a constructive dialogue between government and the industry about developing the right tax and policy framework which supports sustainable growth and job creation right across the UK, recognising the significant contribution the travel industry makes to the UK economy.”
Abta is also lobbying for sustainable growth in aviation, through policy that “understands and manages the environmental impacts of tourism”, such as aviation impacts.
“It’s important the aviation and wider tourism industry work together with government to ensure growth is achieved while also meeting environmental goals,” said Tanzer.
“Expansion at Heathrow is a good example of this: we continue to support expansion at Heathrow airport on the basis that the airport is able to meet the environmental parameters that have been set.”
Abta added it wanted to see a “clearer focus” from the government on ways it can partner with the industry to promote sustainable growth.