One-stop B2B online booking service Hahn Air has introduced a global scheme to protect consumers against an airline going bust.
The sales and interline e-ticket distribution provider for around 200 airlines around the world will launch the scheme on 1 January 2010 in a move it says is in response to what consumers associations around the world "have been demanding for many years".
Hahn Air has signed an agreement with Swiss insurance giant Generali to protect every e-ticket bought through its system in the event of an airline ending operations.
The protection documents are generated automatically through the issuing agent of the e-ticket, such as offline retail agents and OTAs.
Hahn currently handles e-ticking for around 80,000 IATA-registered agencies around the world through its spread of partner airlines.
In the USA and Canada alone, 154 and 158 airlines with interests in each country respectively can be booked through the Hahn system, with the UK, France and Germany also featuring with 145, 143 and 140 carriers.
The introduction of the e-ticketing insolvency scheme comes against a backdrop of numerous arguments in individual markets around the globe as to the best way to protect consumers against financial insolvency.
Having a global system to provide financial security for customers will place a question mark, once again, on whether market-specific schemes across the sector (packages and airline-only) are the best model given the global search and buying patterns of consumers.
Many of the current schemes are often seen as confusing, especially in the light of the recent spat between online travel agency TravelRepublic and the UK's Civil Aviation Authority over package holiday protection.
The European Union has also recently waded into the debate over travel protection with the launch of a consultation exercise during 2010 to gauge what measures are needed to protect travellers better.
NB: Thanks to Never Was An Arrow II on Flickr for pic.