The Advantage travel agent consortium says it has received an assurance from the CAA that agents do not have to print off and return hard copies of Atol agreements to operators.
As Travel Weekly reported that week some agent are being asked to return the new agreements which they must now legally have under the new Atol regulations.
This is despite CAA guidance saying this is not necessary and that having a digital version of the agreement is sufficient.
Advantage chief executive John McEwan said it had gone back to the CAA this week to seek clarification on the issue.
“We have reached an agreement that we can host the agreements centrally. These are personalised for each member individually but there is no need for the agent to print off a hard copy and sign it.
“We have had confirmation from the CAA that what we were doing is perfectly acceptable.”
Advantage has created a template agreement including all the standard terms and conditions which operators can add to depending on their arrangement with an agent but which they cannot change.
McEwan said he thought operators had “jumped the gun” in terms of drafting their own agreements and blamed a lack of consultation between them and the CAA.
However, he said the process of collecting all agency agreements is continuing and although they were technically meant to be in place by April this would go on throughout the summer.
It is likely that it will not be until October, when full implementation of the new Atol Flight-Plus regime starts that all agreements will be in place, McEwan said.
Agents in Advantage were told they should download their agreements from a central source but that the contract will be considered to be active as soon as they start selling a particular operator.
The CAA has indicated it will allow the trade some leeway in getting all the necessary agreements in place.
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