§ Mrs. Iris Robinson
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what statutory duty of care airlines have towards passengers whose flights have been cancelled. 
§ Mr. McNulty
UK airlines currently have no statutory duty of care to passengers with regard to cancelled flights. However, all the significant "full-service" UK airlines (both scheduled and charter) have signed up to the Airline Voluntary Commitments on Air Passenger Rights, developed in 2001 under the guidance of the European Commission and the European Civil Aviation Conference. These commitments contain non-legally binding agreements to deliver defined standards of service to air travellers in a number of key areas, including the prompt notification of known delays, cancellations and diversions.
At the Transport Council in December 2002 the European Community reached political agreement on a proposal from the European Commission for a regulation establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to air passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delays of flights. We expect this regulation, which is currently under discussion between the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission to become law during 2004.