UK Civil Aviation Authority brings together European counterparts to discuss revised Package Travel Directive

Date: 23 January 2014

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has today published a new report on the views of organisations administering holiday protection schemes across Europe on proposals to revise the European Package Travel Directive (PTD).

The CAA has developed the report following a workshop held in London in November, which the CAA organised to bring together the various implementers of the European Package Travel Directive. At the event, which was also attended by the European Commission’s Robert Mathiak, representatives of nine different EU countries discussed the proposed revision of the Package Travel Directive. The CAA has now published a report detailing the views expressed by the group. The key findings include:

• The group broadly welcomed the revised Directive, which it felt was long overdue.
• There is concern the proposals could create a gap in protection for sales made directly by businesses established outside the European Economic Area (EEA) - potentially leading to serious consequences for competition and consumer protection.
• The new Directive must ensure that there are effective information requirements so that consumers are clear when protection applies and can make informed choices when booking trips abroad.
• There are clear practical implications for consumers if insolvency protection is provided on a cross-border basis. Language barriers and the need to repatriate consumers to third party countries could limit consumers getting access to the help that they are entitled to. For example, claiming a refund could become extremely difficult.

Richard Jackson, Group Director for Consumer Protection at the CAA, said:
“The Package Travel Directive is there to make sure holidaymakers across the EEA are protected against the risk of their travel company collapsing. This means whether you are booking in the UK or another member state, you should still have peace of mind you are protected if something goes wrong.

“It’s important for consumers and businesses-alike that the revised Directive continues to protect consumers effectively. That is why we are working closely with our colleagues across Europe to fully understand the proposals and identify any potential impact on consumer protection.”

The report of the Package Travel Directive implementers conference has now been submitted to the European Commission and is available to read here.

The proposed revision to the Package Travel Directive was published in July 2013 and is currently being developed by the European Parliament and Council of Ministers. The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) has responsibility for the UK policy position on the PTD.

For more information please contact the CAA press office on 020 7453 6030 or press.office@caa.co.uk. Follow the CAA on Twitter @UK_CAA.

Notes to editors:
• The Package Travel Directive implementers’ conference took place on 19th November 2013 and included representatives of statutory financial protection schemes in the following countries: Austria; Belgium; Ireland; Italy; Netherlands; Norway; Spain; Sweden and the UK. A UK based travel law expert and a representative of the European Commission and of the UK Department for Transport (DfT) and Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) were also present.
• The current Package Travel Directive requires European member states to provide insolvency protection for consumers. Here in the UK, the CAA runs the ATOL scheme to ensure firms selling air inclusive holidays have the necessary protection in place.
• The CAA is the UK's specialist aviation regulator. Its activities include: making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards; preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of tour operator insolvency; planning and regulating all UK airspace; and regulating airports, air traffic services and airlines and providing advice on aviation policy.