Lowcost accuses Thomas Cook of 'talking crap' over flight plus

Lowcost accuses Thomas Cook of 'talking crap' over flight plus

The big two travel companies are being "disingenuous" in their lobbying over flight plus and Atol reform, according to Lowcost Travel Group chief executive Paul Evans.

Thomas Cook UK & Ireland mainstream chief executive Ian Ailles said Cook was pressing for a level playing field that gives greater protection and clarity to the consumer.

But speaking at today's Barclays Travel Forum, Evans accused Ailles of "talking crap" and suggested Cook was merely trying to raise the barriers to entry for smaller players.

He argued Cook had the option of restructuring its business as an airline to avoid the flight plus charges, which Ailles admitted was similar to the way Cook operates in Germany and was being discussed internally.

"It's a total nonsense. If I take my own business, Easyjet Holidays does not have to pay the APC (Atol Protection Contribution) and Lowcost Holidays does," Evans fumed.

Senior partner at White Hart Associates, Chris Photi said: "It's an anti-competitive situation. It's creating barriers to entry and playing into the hands of the big two. But they have enough advantages from scale.

"I don't think flight plus is the stepping stone to a full solution that some people think it will be."

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