The Department for Transport has postponed the introduction of ATOL reform from 1 January to April 2012. ABTA and several members had highlighted their concerns in the tight deadline for the changes to ATOL in the new year, which are yet to be decided.
The association welcomed the announcement today, stating that the 1 January date was ‘untenable’ for the industry to implement. The government is now expected to make an announcement on ATOL in December.
Commenting on the victory, Mark Tanzer, chief executive of ABTA said:”This shows how important it is for our members, and the industry as a whole, to put our views to the Government in a robust way”.
He added that there were other issues that should be resolved before the announcement in December. “While we support the current proposals as a first step towards improving the system of financial protection, the inclusion of holidays sold by airlines is an essential second step. Further, there are still important areas regarding the principles and practicalities of the reforms that need to be addressed by the Department for Transport and Civil Aviation Authority, we look forward to continuing to work closely with them on these,” explained Tanzer.
TUI said it will also continue to work with the government and CAA on what the ATOL reform will involve.
“We fully support the intention to extend the ATOL scheme to ‘flight-plus’ holidays which comprise a flight and other holiday component. We also endorse the decision by the Government to consider widening ATOL protection to include holidays sold by airlines and consider this to be a necessary part of a package of reforms,”said Mike Bowers, general counsel UK & Ireland at TUI.
He added that the industry must ‘play by the rules’ if legislation around acting as an agent for the consumer are bought into ATOL and the CAA and government should ‘strictly enoforce’ new regulation.