Thomas Cook seeks tougher enforcement of Atol

Thomas Cook seeks tougher enforcement of Atol

Thomas Cook is seeking tougher enforcement of Atol rules, with director of government and external affairs Andy Cooper demanding a clamp down by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Speaking at an Abta law seminar on proposals to extend consumer protection yesterday, Cooper said: “We would like to see the CAA clamp down on those who need clamping down on.”

He also argued it was time retailers took responsibility for replacing holidays if a company fails. Cooper said: “Sellers should be responsible for what they sell and responsible for replacing product if a supplier fails.”

However, he labelled the current Department for Transport proposals for Atol reform “a fudge” and only “a partial solution” because the airlines would remain outside, and said: “There are still areas of concern. There are opportunities for avoidance.”

Cooper described the option for retailers to act as an agent for the consumer as “a problem”, and said: “We do not want means of avoidance. We like the principle of anti-avoidance measures. We would like there to be strong and effective measures.”

He said the failure to include click-through sales – where a purchaser books a flight on an airline site and then clicks a link to an accommodation provider – “smacks of cowardice”. “The problem has been obvious for years,” said Cooper.

He also expressed disappointment that there would be no change in the regulations on seat-only sales - which will continue to be covered by Atol regulations when bought from a tour operator, but not when bought direct from an airline.

Cooper said: “It’s absurd. If you book a Monarch Airlines flight on the Monarch site, the booking will not be protected. If you book the flight on the Avro site - same flight, same company - it will be.”


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