The new boss of travel industry regulator the CAA has promised to take a “proportionate monitoring stance to compliance” on new package travel rules.
Richard Moriarty, chief executive of the CAA, told the 13th annual Barclays Travel Forum yesterday that he acknowledged the “compromised timescale” for compliance.
The final version of the new UK Package Travel Regulations – the interpretation of the revised EU Package Travel Directive – is yet to be published although firms are meant to be compliant from July 1
“I’m not expecting everyone to be tickety-boo,” Moriarty said. “I think we will take a proportionate and monitoring stance to compliance on July 1.”
He indicated the CAA was prepared to give firms three months to “get their house in order”. “What I am expecting is companies have a plan to get to compliance.”
Although the delays is finalising the regulations is causing concern, Moriarty said “95 to 96 per cent of it has already been agree in European statute”. “There are only a very small number of additional measures we have suggested,” he added. “They make sense in their own right, some clarify existing regulations and make things easier for folk.”
Moriarty dismissed criticism made during the forum that the CAA’s changes to the rules that govern the Atol scheme amounted to a power grab.
“If I really wanted to go on a power grab PTD regulations are not the place to do that,” he said.
Moriarty added: “We have had recent feedback that the drafting [of the regulations] does not work for some companies and we are working on that. We will be quite reasonable to introduce these with enough lead time to enable the industry to adapt. Consumers will get something extra for this in terms of increased regulation.”
Moriarty said the new rules open up prospect of firms in the UK being able to trade in other countries under UK regulations and vice versa but dismissed a claim that this was an about turn by the CAA after it criticised Lowcost Travel Group when it relocated to Spain to operate under Spanish law.
“That was before my time. But I think there were particular issues with them rather than just taking advantages of free borders,” he said.
Moriarty welcomed the government decision to review airline failure following the collapse of Monarch Airlines last year and he acknowledged the CAA’s decision to repatriate all of its customers whether they were Atol protected or not had raised issues.
Asked whether the CAA may consider reducing the £2.50 per passenger Atol Protection Contribution not the trust that backs Atol is £145 million in the black, Moriarty said the government wants the scheme to cover all the risk in the sector so the tax payer does not have to.
“I know we are not at the point yet where all those risks are covered where we can say to the government that we can reduce the APC,” he said.
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