Parliamentary Transport Committee urge for all flights to be ATOL protected
December 7th, 2009 by elisa

ATOL protection should be extended to cover all flights, not just package holidays, the Parliamentary Transport Committee has urged. The committee’s report on the future of aviation calls for the ATOL levy to be increased and extended to include all flights overseas and “not merely package holidays”.

The report says: “We remain concerned that air passengers are not adequately protected from airline collapse. As the number of people who book flights over the internet increases, the number at risk also rises.”

The Government should also work with the insurance industry to make it clear to passengers that standard travel insurance does not normally include flights home when an airline collapses.

Controversial Air Passenger Duty should be set “according to the Government’s revenue needs, taking careful account of the economic importance of the aviation industry,” the report says. The committee admits that taxation is an aspect of aviation that is “hotly disputed”. It said it would be “helpful” for the Government to clarify the situation with a statement of revenues raised, the extent of any tax exemptions and how these compare to the social and environmental costs of aviation.

It is “imperative” any high-speed UK rail network includes links to major airports, the committee stated. EasyJet chief executive Andy Harrison reacted by saying: “The key to sustainable aviation is technology not taxation. This means setting minimum standards for aircraft emissions to force airlines to use the most modern aircraft and to force aircraft manufacturers to bring forward the next generation of aircraft much sooner.

“We already have minimum standards for aircraft noise, car emissions, diesel engines and many other products – aircraft CO2 emissions are the logical next step. We must also reform perverse taxes like APD, which taxes full aircraft more than empty aircraft. How daft is that? High-speed rail is a good thing and is complementary to EasyJet – our average sector length is 1,100km.”

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