The battle to become next Abta chairman ends this week, with the two candidates sharply divided on whether the costs of membership and Atol can be cut with ease.
All Leisure Group chairman Roger Allard has made cutting costs key to his campaign. But opponent Noel Josephides, chairman of Sunvil, has suggested: “If you think no one has been working on cost reductions [at Abta], you are very much mistaken.”
Allard said this week cost-cutting remained a key pledge. He cited figures from Atipac, the air travel insolvency body, which suggest 43% of Atol-protected passengers are double or triple-protected.
“As the system evolved things have crept up,” he said. “Everyone looks after their own areas and no one has put it all together. “The need to reduce costs is one of the things I want to address.”
However, asked about cutting financial-protection costs, Josephides said: “It’s pointless promising things that won’t come about.”
John de Vial, Abta’s head of financial protection, confirmed: “There is inefficiency in the system because of the UK Consumer Credit Act.”
This ensures credit card purchases are protected regardless of whether they are also covered by Atol.
However, De Vial suggested the scope to reduce the resulting costs is limited.
He pointed out Abta already allows for the amount of business covered by credit cards in members’ bonding calculations. He said: “There isn’t a clear duplication of cover.
“Abta also has agreements with the CAA and credit card companies on how claims are dealt with. There are a lot of things in place to reduce the duplication of costs.”
Votes for the new chairman must be returned to Electoral Reform Services by today Friday, June 28.
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