Atol rules delay ‘very unfair on industry’

Atol rules delay ‘very unfair on industry’

The CAA’s delay in issuing amended Atol regulations is “unfair to the industry” and making it “difficult for businesses”, says Abta.

The industry was still awaiting the regulations as Travel Weekly went to press on Tuesday despite repeated assurances that publication of the Atol rules and Department for Business (BEIS) guidance on the new Package Travel Regulations (PTRs) is imminent.

The new PTRs come into force on July 1, yet businesses still lack the standard terms they are required to pass on to consumers.

The CAA confirmed the Atol Regulations and BEIS guidance would be issued together, with publication now expected “at the back end of this week”.

There has been no explanation for the continuing hold-up.

The change in the law will make agents selling flight-plus arrangements “organisers” of package holidays with the same liabilities as tour operators.

Abta legal affairs director Simon Bunce described the delay as “bizarre”. He said: “I don’t think there will be any surprises in the BEIS guidance. The problem is the Atol regulations. We don’t know what is in the standard terms and we’ve been trying to get model booking conditions out for members this week.

“Businesses should know by now they need an Atol if they are doing flight packages. Where it gets difficult is in the detail – the statements people need to make in marketing and in booking conditions.

It’s difficult for businesses to plan and to build wording into systems.

“It is very unfair on the industry to leave it this late.

“We’re trying to tell members what they need to do to run their businesses and we can’t if we don’t have timely information.”

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