CAA clarifies Atol-exemption on seat-only sales

CAA clarifies Atol-exemption on seat-only sales

The Civil Aviation Authority has confirmed non-IATA agents selling scheduled airline tickets will require Atol cover for seat-only sales from April 30 and clarified the exemption for a new category of Airline Ticket Agent (ATA).

Most ATAs will be IATA-accredited agents who will not need written agency agreements with individual airlines to be exempt from Atol on seat-only sales so long as they have the authority to issue the carrier’s tickets.

A non-IATA agent may also be exempt if they have a written agency agreement with the relevant airline. All other leisure sales of seat-only scheduled flights will require the cover of an Atol licence.

The changes form part of the Department for Transport’s Atol reforms to come into force on April 30.

Agents with ATA status will be required to state on invoices and receipts that: “This flight is sold as Agent of the Airline(s) named on the ticket and is not protected under the Atol scheme.”

In a statement yesterday the CAA said: “IATA-accredited agents selling flights with the airline’s ticketing authority will not need a further written agency agreement to do so, nor will they need to protect the booking through Atol.”

However, “Agents selling non-IATA tickets will need to have either an agency agreement with the airline or Atol protect the booking.”

The CAA said: “An Atol will not be required (and there will be no Atol protection) where a ticket is sold by an agent acting as an ATA, or acting as an ATA in combination with the IATA Agent exemption the CAA proposes to issue.”

This is subject to the agent dealing direct with the customer, issuing the ticket as soon as they accept any payment, and the ticket enabling the customer to travel without making any further payment.

The CAA clarification means there will be no need for an Atol licence where a ticket is sold by:

*An IATA-accredited agent issuing an IATA airline’s tickets under the ticketing authority of the carrier, when no separate written agreement with the airline will be required.

*An IATA-accredited agent issuing the ticket of a non-IATA member airline, with the carrier’s ticketing authority through the IATA BSP (bank settlement plan).

*Any agent issuing an airline’s tickets with the airline’s ticketing authority outside the IATA BSP “providing the agent has entered into a separate written agreement with the airline”.

All other leisure sales will need to be Atol protected. However, corporate travel seat-only bookings on scheduled airlines will remain exempt. For more details on Atol reform visit the CAA's website.


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