To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) whether his Department has investigated the practice by tour operators of charging customers for fuel surcharges in respect of aeroplane flights;(2) when he or his representatives plan next to meet the Association of British Travel Agents;(3) whether he or his representatives have ever discussed the question of fuel surcharges with the Association of British Travel Agents.
[holding answer 25 March 1988]: Specific provisions about the levying and explanation of surcharges are contained in the tour operators' code of conduct drawn up by the Association of British Travel Agents in consultation with the Director General of Fair Trading. I am already examining this matter to ascertain whether such charges are justified and are clearly explained to customers. The Director General, who monitors the effectiveness of such codes, has told ABTA that he is concerned about recent media reports of excessive fuel surcharges. ABTA is expected to make a considered response in the near future. My Department is in close touch with the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) on this issue and I shall be meeting OFT officials with officials from the Civil Aviation Authority in April to discuss the position. I plan to meet ABTA representatives shortly after that.