ABTA the Travel Association is calling on the Government to include all sections of the travel trade, which incurred costs due to the recent volcanic ash clouds, in any future compensation package. In a House of Commons debate on the impact of the ash clouds on aviation, Minister of State at the Department of Transport Theresa Villiers, commented that “The Government have not ruled out providing support for airlines”. During both ash cloud events package tour operators also provided accommodation and covered day to day expenses and ABTA believes they should be included in any possible compensation package. ABTA travel agents worked tirelessly to support and re-arrange travel arrangements for customers, often opening extended hours and all weekend during the crisis.
Luke Pollard ABTA Head of Public Affairs said “The industry agrees with Minister Villiers comments that the ash clouds were an unprecedented event and many Government agencies were involved in dealing with the effects both in the UK and Europe and it is clear the relevant regulations did not work well. We welcome the recognition she has given to the exceptional efforts made by the industry to look after and bring customers home as well as refunding and rebooking thousands. However we do not accept that the travel industry should have to bear the entire costs of unprecedented and ongoing natural events which are the responsibility of Governments and their consular services. Any future compensation package is not only the right and proper thing to do but must also reimburse all those companies who carried the financial burden of looking after affected customers”