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Airline Overbooking Compensation

Volume 387: debated on Thursday 17 November 1977

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My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress has been made concerning the application of the overbooking compensation scheme to return flights resulting from an original booking made in the United Kingdom on British airlines so that a passenger may be covered for the whole of his ticket and not, as at present, for half of it; and whether they will make a Statement on the progress made on this matter in the European Civil Aviation Conference.

My Lords, earlier this year, we invited the European Civil Aviation Conference to consider the scope for arrangements for overbooking compensation between airlines of Member States. At a meeting of that body in June it was decided that a questionnaire should be drawn up to gather facts on the overbooking practice and comments on approaches to it to provide a factual basis for discussion within ECAC. The questionnaire, which I mentioned in my reply of 16th June, has been circulated to the 20 Member States of ECAC and to date replies covering 13 Member States have been received. A Paper is now being prepared summarising the responses and this is to be considered at a meeting of an ECAC Working Group to be held on 6th to 8th December. A decision on further action is expected to be taken at that meeting.

My Lords, is my noble friend aware that when he began his reply I was getting very angry because he was repeating word for word what he had told me on 16th June? However, is he further aware that as he progressed my anger became assuaged, if that is the right term? Is he also aware that I am very grateful to him and to the Government for what they have done in this matter?—because I gather from what he said that practically all the members have replied and a further meeting is to be held on, I think he said, 6th to 8th December. Could my noble friend comment on the possibility, prior to the House rising for the Christmas Recess—unless it rises very early—of having a Question put down and an Answer given on what stage has been reached?

My Lords, I confirm what my noble friend said about the facts that I included in the original Answer. I agree that there should be an opportunity for the House to consider the outcome of the Paper probably before the Christmas Recess.

My Lords, I really am very much obliged to my noble friend.