In the run-up to the submission of its full response to the Department for Transport’s ATOL Reform proposals, ABTA is repeating its call for airlines to be included in the scheme, and expressing its concerns about the feasibility of a January 2012 launch.
Early analysis of results from ABTA’s recent questionnaire among Members shows that there is widespread support for airlines to come within the scope of ATOL financial protection. An overwhelming 95 per cent of respondents agreed that airlines should be included in ATOL, so that consumers receive the same protection for all Flight-Plus and flight inclusive holidays sold in the UK*.
Key areas of concern around the January implementation timescale include the current lack of definition regarding the protection to be offered by the Air Travel Trust Fund, and hence the backup insurance requirements for Flight-Plus arrangers; the mechanism for implementing the ATOL Certificate; and the bonding requirements for new ATOL licensees. In recent weeks, ABTA has contacted the Department for Transport on behalf of its Members, seeking to clarify critical elements regarding these and other practicalities of the reforms.
Mark Tanzer ABTA Chief Executive said: “We have called on the Government to ensure that the reforms are both fair and workable. There is overwhelming support for airlines to be included because without them, the scheme will not provide a truly comprehensive and fair system of consumer financial protection. We are also concerned about the lack of clarity regarding key elements of the reform proposals. It is absolutely essential that principles are clear and mechanisms affordable, if the trade is to be able to support the Government’s objective of providing better protection for consumers.”
*Every ABTA Member received a copy of a comprehensive Questionnaire and was given four weeks to return the questionnaire or complete an online version. 225 ABTA Members responded by the deadline of 18 August.