CAA gives go-ahead to new Atol franchise firm

CAA gives go-ahead to new Atol franchise firm

Protected Travel Services, a new name in travel, launches today as a franchise body offering Atol licensing to independent tour operators.

The Civil Aviation Authority is due to announce this morning that it has licensed Protected Travel Services (PTS) and the trust arrangements the company will provide, along with back office and merchant facilities.

Bournemouth-based PTS is led by financial consultant and former banker Tom Clay.

The arrangements are aimed at independent tour operators. PTS will provide full Atol cover, with members holding their own Atol licence and Atol number under a franchise arrangement. All payments will go through a trust account.

The company has been operating since 2008-09, working with a small number of tour operators, but chose to wait before launching widely to the trade.

PTS spokesman Daniel Landen said: “We’ve done it softly softly. We had to get it right and prove the model works.

“For tour operators, it will be the only alternative to going to the CAA [for an Atol].”

“PTS is set up with start-up companies in mind. But there will be people in existing associations interested.”

Landen said: "It can be extremely difficult for small independent tour operators to get merchant services."

He added: “People will be free to run their own business. It’s not up to us who they deal with. There will be no restriction on suppliers.”

Landen told Travel Weekly: “The costs are really competitive. People will pay a licence fee per month and a fee for every booking, but can control their overheads. The aim is to have low fixed fees.”

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