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Aviation: Compensation

Volume 486: debated on Tuesday 20 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the answer of 13 November 2008, Official Report, column 1285W, on aviation: compensation, whether he has concluded his review of protection of air passengers; and if he will make a statement. (249512)

The Government’s work on short-term measures to improve passengers’ experience in any future airline or tour operator failure is nearing completion. This work has comprised:

a study of the feasibility of using an insolvent airline’s aircraft and crew to return passengers home. This has concluded that the temporary prolongation of the life of a failed airline to carry out repatriation is unlikely to the best solution even if operationally convenient, because of the need to settle the airline’s outstanding liabilities and indemnify the administrator against potential losses from operating the airline.

exploring better information for consumers to increase awareness of their options for protection against airline or tour operator insolvency when making a booking. I expect this work to come to fruition shortly. Concurrent measures to improve the information provided to ATOL-protected passengers on their travel paperwork aim to enforce increased awareness of their rights.

exploring ways to improve the information flow to passengers abroad in the event of airline or tour operator failure, especially about the availability of special repatriation fares with other airlines.

monitoring the development of the insurance market. Since the failure of the XL Leisure Group, demand has led to increased availability of Scheduled Airline Failure Insurance either as a stand-alone product or as an optional or standard part of a travel insurance policy.

The Government have not yet reached decisions on whether any longer term changes are necessary but are continuing to discuss this with stakeholders.