The Department for Transport (DfT) has delayed a decision on Atol reform until January, putting the April start date for the Flight-Plus licence in doubt.
The DfT confirmed the delay to Travel Weekly on Tuesday as Abta highlighted concerns about the reforms in a response to a Civil Aviation Authority Information Paper issued last month.
Abta believes almost 630 members will need Atol cover for the first time, but said it is unlikely to seek the status of a Flight-Plus Approved Body, which would provide cover for agents.
Aviation minister Theresa Villiers, pictured, said: “We aim to make an announcement of the way forward for Atol reform early in the new year – a little later than hoped.
“We are still confident an announcement in January will give the industry sufficient time to prepare for changes, which we expect to come into effect in April.”
Villiers said the announcement would extend to “whether to include Atol reform in the draft Civil Aviation Bill”.
Abta warned the changes are “likely to entail significant systems and process changes” for retailers and described the likely requirements for Approved Body status as “so onerous…it may result in few, if any, organisations participating”.
The association said: “It is unlikely Abta would participate as an Approved Body as currently proposed.”
Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “One of the key challenges of these proposals is their complexity. It’s essential the industry has adequate time to prepare.”
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