Government plans to extend financial protection for holidaymakers would require travel retailers to provide Atol cover for a hire car sold to go with a package holiday.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) confirmed the requirement under Atol-reform proposals currently the subject of industry consultation.
CAA consumer protection group deputy director David Moesli told Abta members that an agent who adds overseas car hire to an existing Atol-protected package would require an Atol to cover the car-hire element.
Speaking during an Abta webinar on Atol reform yesterday, Moesli said: “That is the proposal.”
Abta head of financial protection John de Vial said: “That would be a tremendous change for our members – selling a traditional package and bringing in car hire [would mean] an agent would be liable if one of the suppliers failed.”
Moesli also confirmed Atol holders will be responsible for issuing the planned Atol Certificate to consumers at the point of booking The Certificate is to be introduced alongside the new Flight-Plus Atol for retailers. Moesli said: “The Atol Certificate will be a requirement on the Atol holder.”
But he added: “If someone is selling on their behalf, the Atol holder will have to enable the agent to issue the Certificate. It is up to the Atol holder to decide how they want to do that.”
Moesli insisted the CAA was “making good progress” on preparations for implementing the Atol Certificate, saying: “It has to be a document issued when the passenger makes the booking, so they know what is covered.”
De Vial said: “We are broadly supportive of the Certificate, but we are concerned about the timescale. It is just not practical to implement this by January 1. There are implications for agents and tour operators and issues about how you give clarity to consumers on what is covered – whether it is a full package, a flight plus or flight only.”
He added: “How and when the Atol Certificate is issued will be a key issue.”
Abta is urging members to respond to a questionnaire on the Atol reforms.
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