A senior Department for Transport official has assured the trade the government is “signed up” to bring airline sales of holidays into the Atol regulations.
Kate Jennings, head of aviation policy implementation at the DfT, said: “The fact that there are Atol clauses in the Civil Aviation Bill is significant.”
The Bill, now going through Parliament, would allow ministers to bring both airline holidays and agent-for-the-consumer sales into the Atol scheme next year.
Jennings, who is responsible for the Flight-Plus Atol regulations, told an Abta travel law seminar in London: “The Bill is making good progress through Parliament. We are already preparing an impact assessment.”
But she said nothing would happen “until we have done a consultation and got agreement. Realistically, the consultation will be early next year.
“We are also waiting to see proposals at the European level. We don’t want to come out with proposals and see changes in Europe.”
Jennings added a note of caution, saying: “The cost of the current Atol scheme is quite high. There will be forensic attention to the costs [of extending it].”
However, she insisted: “The government is signed up to bring airlines in [to Atol]. There is a need for clarity and it would be a lot easier with airlines in. The aim is to protect holidays however consumers book them.”