16 Jul

Offending airlines must be held to account

Four months on since the FCO advised against all non-essential travel, and the issue of airlines not refunding continues to cause significant problems, for tour operator Members that are forced into delaying refunds in turn, and travel agent Members facing irate customers. Thankfully, many customers are understanding of the situation. However, for those that are frustrated with the time it is taking for refunds to be processed we have highlighted that it is simply impossible for many tour operators to pay monies back as quickly as they would like, while they wait for money back from airlines and other suppliers.

ABTA continues to emphasise to Government and Regulators the extraordinary circumstances that Members find themselves in. I hope and expect that the CAA will soon publish a further update on its review into the refund policies of airlines to show the action being taken to ensure airlines fulfil their obligations to refund and assist the rest of the industry supply chain. 

The CAA has already said that it has identified a group of airlines that includes major carriers with substantial backlogs of refund claims that are taking too long to process, and has asked these airlines to provide commitments that they will speed up refund processing timescales.

It is time for commitments to be met, and for persistently offending airlines to be held to account.

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive