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Call for air passenger protection

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The Government should take steps to ensure all travellers affected by airline failure are protected, a passenger watchdog has said.

As the law stands, those who book flight-only deals are not financially covered by any Abta or Air Travel Organisers' Licensing (Atol) protection systems in the event of a carrier halting operation.

The Air Transport Users Council (AUC) is now calling on Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon to consider extending protection schemes so they cover scheduled airline passengers.

The AUC, Abta and the Civil Aviation Authority, which runs the Atol scheme, have all previously urged the Government to reconsider to issue.

Problems caused by the lack of protection for air passengers became clear following the collapse of XL Airways last month.

Although many XL clients were financially covered and repatriated, a number who had booked flight-only deals had no protection and were left stranded abroad.

The AUC said it believed, due to the current economic climate, that the time was right for the Government to take another look at this issue.

AUC chairman Tina Tietjen said: "We urge the Government to give detailed consideration to extending financial protection for air passengers, to include the failure of scheduled airlines."

© The Press Association 2008