The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have introduced a panel of “consumer experts” to work with them in the coming 18 months through plans to produce better outcomes for airline consumers and put their interests ‘at heart’ to improve consumer confidence.
This panel of 10 consumer experts will work with the CAA as they plan future policies and adapt to current issues and how they have affected the interests of consumers. It was stated that there will be a particular focus on the needs of vulnerable travellers and providing a seamless experience for them as airline passengers.
The panel stated that it will work as ‘a critical friend’ to the CAA over the course of the next 18 months and it will provide advice with consumer interests at the heart for future policy development. Consumers’ interests will be a top priority in all future decision-making for the CAA with this panel alongside them to give the consumers’ perspective on these decisions.
The panel has laid out some of its plans for the coming 18-month period. It intends to focus on summer disruptions alongside the longer-term impact that the pandemic may have on the aviation sector as a whole. Following the Covid-19 pandemic, many aspects of the travel industry are being examined with a different perspective and are expected to adapt to the pattern of travel as it has evolved in 2022 and beyond.
Other concerns that will be looked into by the panel are the rising cost of living at present, the environmental impact of aviation, and new technology surrounding consumer behaviour and attitudes towards air travel. The CAA has claimed that the panel will “remain flexible and adapt to future priorities and changes” in the aviation sector, following how they could change the future of the industry.
The consumer director at the CAA, Paul Smith, said, “Over the next 18 months, it will be important the aviation sector provides a good experience to all consumers, including those who are vulnerable, to promote confidence as people return to flying post-pandemic.
“Through its new work programme, the Panel will work with the Civil Aviation Authority to help deliver good outcomes for consumers, and to ensure we continue to promote consumer choice, value and fair treatment and improves consumer protection outcomes.”
The chair of the CAA’s consumer panel, Jenny Willott, added to this and said, “The next 18 months will be crucial as passengers return to flying, but in a new context with the rising cost of living challenges and a heightened interest in the impact of flying on climate change.
“We will be considering some of these long-term, future challenges and the potential impact on all of us and our ability and desire to fly. We will be looking at how we can work with the Civil Aviation Authority, airlines and airports to ensure that consumers’ needs are at the heart of decisions.”
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