ABTA has urged the government to postpone the implementation of ATOL changes and certification to April next year. During a webinar held today, John De Vial, head of financial protection at ABTA raised concerns that travel agents would find it impractical to carry out the changes in the run-up to Christmas for a 1 January deadline. This is going on the assumption that a government decision is made in mid September with an additional six month consultation period by the Civil Aviation Authority. “We are concerned about the practicalities of implementing ATOL [changes] during the reform consultation period into December,” said De Vial. “We strongly believe this should be pushed back to a realistic date such as 1 April or further”. At the same seminar, the CAA invited agents to arrange a meeting with the officials to exercise any concerns they may have on the changes. Meanwhile Kate Jennings, head of aviation policy implementation at the Department for Transport hinted that airlines may not be included in future ATOL claims as airline failures are ‘small’. “Ministers are aware of needing a level playing field but airline failure is small,” she said. “The Transport Bill will be out next year and it is not impossible for ATOL to be covered in terms of whether airlines or agent to consumers are included”. She said ministers recognised there was an opportunity to provide more simplicity and clarity to financial protection and consumers but warned that the government would need enough evidence to implement regulation.