ABTA, British Airways disagree on airline crisis

As the UK travel industry reels from the combined impact of high oil prices and a consumer recession, trade body ABTA is making a concerted effort to position itself as the sole voice for this embattled sector.

British Airways: airline crisis disagreement (Photo: Newscast)
British Airways: airline crisis disagreement (Photo: Newscast)

ABTA, (originally the Association of British Travel Agents) has partially rebranded itself as ABTA: The Travel Association. It has also completed its merger with the Federation of Tour Operators - and is now considering a new brand identity to consolidate its position.

This week – to coincide with its annual Travel Convention, in Gran Canaria - new head of communications Casia Zajac kicked off an advertising and PR campaign to reassure the travelling public that they could book with confidence with ABTA members, operators and agents whose customers are all covered by ATOL insurance.

The move comes in the wake of the collapse of leisure group XL, which left tens of thousands of uninsured holidaymakers stranded abroad.

At the same time head of policy David Marshall is concentrating on ABTA´s lobbying efforts to levy a one pound charge of on all travel bookings which would provide ATOL insurance for all UK holidaymakers.

However some in the travel industry are opposed to such universal co-operation. Speaking at the convention, earlier this week, British Airways chairman Martin Broughton said he was opposed to subsidizing others, particularly those close to insolvency. If a client decides not to insure themselves, why should we? he argued.

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