Month's transition to new Atol regime 'not enough', says Abta chief

Month's transition to new Atol regime 'not enough', says Abta chief

Businesses need more than a month to comply with new Atol Regulations in force from today, according to Abta chairman John McEwan, who warned the timetable for Flight-Plus licensing is still too tight.

McEwan told Travel Weekly: "A lot of people are saying, 'My God, how do we get this in place in time'."

The Advantage Travel Centres chief executive said: "The reform process took so long it has left implementation time at a premium. It is going to take more than a month."

Speaking at the Advantage conference in Malta at the weekend, McEwan added: "It's important this is implemented properly. It's a major change for the industry.

"My personal opinion is the Civil Aviation Authority will take a realistic view if they are comfortable agents are going through the process, and we will have a transition period through the summer."

He added: "It has been a very lengthy process. We got to the 11th hour before we got changes to to the reforms, when we have been consistent in what we have said throuhgout.

"We have had some successes. But it has been protracted and there is still a lot of tweaking to be done. We have to work together with the CAA through the summer. We will use the next few months to to work through and iron out some of the anomalies."

Advantage will provide a short-cut to help retailers get agency agreements in place, as required by the new regulations, by providing standard terms electronically. These will apply from the first booking between a member and supplier. Details should go out this week.

The agreements are required to clarify the agency status of retailers following introduction of the new Flight-Plus Atol.

McEwan said: "The timescale is a bit of a stretch. Having the agency agreements done in a month depends on the speed of response from business partners. It will be incumbent upon members to read the terms," he said. "Immediately an agent makes a booking with a preferred supplier, they will have accepted the terms."


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