Avoiding duplicate costs, creating a level playing field and limiting exposure to the costs of other travel company failures are amongst the key concerns being raised by ABTA Members around the Department for Transport's (DfT) Call for Evidence on the future of financial protection.
ABTA is mid-way through a comprehensive programme of events to gain Member feedback ahead of submitting its response to the DfT's Call for Evidence. Workshops have so far taken place in Bristol, Manchester and Guernsey and more than 80 participants joined an ABTA hosted webinar to discuss the subject. A workshop is taking place in Glasgow today and further workshops in London and Belfast will follow during July.
So far, one of the issues topping the list of concerns held by ABTA Members is the complexity of protection for consumers and industry due to the many separate statutory schemes. These are operated by the Department for Transport (ATOL) and the Department for Business (Package Travel) and duplicate reporting requirements and costs. Members also raised the issue of Credit Card companies taking additional security and the level of their charges.
Speaking at the ABTA webinar, Kate Jennings, Head of Aviation Policy Implementation, DfT urged Members to share information on their financial protection costs: "It's vital for us to understand the varying costs of protection. We need to be able to consider what the costs are and how much time travel companies are spending on administration; it will be really helpful to have that data so that any future proposals can be measured against it."
Other key areas of concern for Members, include ensuring that there is a level playing field for travel companies. Many Members want to see the DfT use their powers to bring airlines into the ATOL scheme to achieve this. There is also strong support amongst those at the workshops for variable APC pricing, for example linked to the strength of a business. Some Members believed this would help limit their exposure to the costs of other travel company failures.
Mark Tanzer, CEO, ABTA said: "It's clear that many of our Members feel strongly about the issues in the Call for Evidence and we've had some very useful feedback so far. This feedback is essential in helping us frame our response to the DfT and I'd encourage all Members with views about the current or future working of consumer financial protection to let us have their feedback via the workshops or our online questionnaire."
The closing date for Members to send their questionnaire back to ABTA is 30 July.