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Government can’t keep hammering our airlines in their time of crisis

·1-min read
 (IAG)
(IAG)

It’s hard to see how much more damage the Government and its quangos could do to the UK travel industry.

Having been one of the only countries in the developed world not to bail out our stricken airlines in the thick of the crisis, Britain has lurched from one failed policy to the next.

From the months of delays to Covid screening at airports to the fiasco of the traffic light system that left travellers stranded in Portugal, Downing Street has worsened an already catastrophic situation.

Today, just 24 hours after Environment Secretary George Eustice lobbed yet more confusion onto the public by warning us not to book holidays abroad, competition watchdogs have delivered another hammer blow.

They have launched enforcement actions against BA and Ryanair which, at a time both airlines are on their knees, could result in crippling new bills.

The CMA says customers should have been offered money back on flights they were legally banned from taking, rather than vouchers.

Legally, perhaps so, but given that it was the Government that changed the laws after the bookings, not the airlines, surely that puts as much moral liability on the Treasury to pay the compo.

Particularly because in the cases under consideration the airlines were still running the flights, at a loss, for essential workers.

In the absence of state support, vouchers seemed a reasonable compromise at such an extreme time.

Even if these airlines were in breach of some obscure law or other, given the circumstances, we should cut them some slack.

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