Sunset of EU laws could ‘destabilise the travel industry’

Plans to “sunset” thousands of EU laws retained after Brexit could “destabilise the travel industry”, a sector leader has warned.

Mark Tanzer, chief executive of travel trade organisation Abta, said the possible removal of consumer protections could be “profound”.

From the end of next year retained EU laws will be abolished unless measures have been taken to retain them.

Mr Tanzer, speaking at Abta’s Travel Matters conference in Westminster, said: “It has been gratifying to see the consumers’ returning appetite for travel in 2022, but we should not take that for granted.

“Affordability is one essential component of travel, and confidence is another.

“The Parliamentary Bill that sets a sunset deadline of next year on UK law and regulations derived from EU legislation has the potential to destabilise the travel industry.

“The dilution of denied boarding compensation is one area of potential consumer detriment, but more profound is the possible removal of consumer protections provided by the Package Travel Regulations (PTRs).

“These are currently under review by both the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy – who oversee the PTRs – and by the Department for Transport, who are reviewing the operation of the Atol scheme.”

He added: “The protections afforded by these regulations are essential to maintaining consumer confidence.”

Under the PTRs, package holidays bought in the UK, such as those involving flights and accommodation in a single booking, are protected under the Atol scheme.

This means if a travel company goes bust, consumers are entitled to either a full refund if their holiday has not started, or accommodation costs and flights home if they are abroad.

The Government is also consulting on changing the amount of compensation payable for domestic flight delays.