The ‘devil will be in the detail’ of government plans to tighten ATOL protection, according to the Scottish Passenger Agents Association.
The organisation, which is starting work on its response to the proposals, said it supported in principle moves to extend financial protection through secondary legislation in the short term and more extensive reform via primary legislation in the longer term.
SPAA president Brian Potter said: “In the former instance, the devil will be in the detail. We believe Flight-Plus – the plan to bring component-based travel arrangements under ATOL protection – can be a significant step forward, but it must be watertight and bring to an end avoidance behaviour among travel providers – including airlines.
“We will work hard to ensure our submission includes pragmatic proposals to achieve this.”
He added: “In the longer term, the Government’s recognition that airlines could be included in the ATOL regime is welcome – indeed the SPAA was amongst the first travel organisations to argue for the inclusion of airlines, and we have been consistent in this view ever since.
“But we would go further – we believe airlines must be included in any new financial protection system if it is to be truly effective and again we will be arguing this assertively in our submission, amongst other points which will undoubtedly emerge from our own consultation with our members.”
Potter said the organisation had 12 weeks to absorb the details of the consultation on ATOL reform and would respond with a “coherent and comprehensive” submission.
“Our objective is simple – via a combination of secondary and primary legislation – the medium term must deliver the UK a comprehensive, coherent, transparent financial protection system offering foolproof protection to the air travelling consumer and a practical, simple, affordable regime to the travel provider, including the airlines,” he said.
Ahead of the publication of the Atol proposals Travel Weekly launched its Every Seat Safe campaign demanding that the government offer assurances that future plans for Atol will ensure that payments for all airline seats are protected.
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