Abta agrees low-cost bonding after Atol reform

Abta agrees low-cost bonding after Atol reform

Lowcost Travel Group is understood to have completed negotiations on a substantial reduction in its Abta bonding, days after its chief executive threatened to quit the association last week.

Travel Weekly has learnt the online retailer and trade supplier has agreed a deal that has seen its £2 million bonding costs reduced by around 75%.

Abta would not confirm the deal but a spokesman said bonding requirements were based on risk assessments which take account of other protection schemes such as Atol, and no exceptions were made for any member.

The spokesman said: “In a year when we’ve seen major changes to the Atol scheme, there will have been changes to a number of our members’ businesses and we have consequently adjusted their bonding arrangements.”

Although a deal is thought to have been agreed after Evans’ outburst last week, Abta director Noel Josephides denied there would have been a link.

Josephides was not aware of the circumstances involving Lowcost’s bonding, but he said: “This will have nothing to do with ‘he who shouts loudest’. A process would have started months ago.”

Although Abta has not changed bonding for existing members it published less-stringent requirements for new members last month.

This will see cases assessed on an individual basis and could see bonding for firms reduced by up to a third in the first three years.

Responding to Evans’ claims, Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “The CAA wants the industry to take back consumer protection. I don’t know how the industry would operate if you took us out. It would be a catastrophe.”

Evans could not be reached for comment.

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