Atol advisory committee demands ministers close agent 'loophole'

Atol advisory committee demands ministers close agent 'loophole'

The Air Travel Protection Advisory Committee (Atipac) has hailed UK Atol reform as “a potential game changer” but called for further action.

The committee has demanded ministers act quickly to close “a loophole” in the current regulations on consumer financial protection.

Atipac advises the government and Civil Aviation Authority on air travel consumer protection and is made up of industry and consumer representatives.

In its annual report addressed to transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin and published yesterday, the committee says it “remains very concerned about companies adopting the position that they act as ‘agents for the consumer’.

“Further legislative action is required to protect them [consumers] and eliminate what is no more than a gambit to evade Atol.”

The committee also queries whether all companies in the sector have the required agency agreements in place.

The report states: “The committee will be looking closely at the next significant failure to establish if this part of the reform has achieved its desired effect.”

Atipac notes the performance of the travel industry has been “remarkably stable” considering the economic backdrop and “a difficult trading environment”.

Committee chairman John Cox said: “We call on the government to ensure financial protection keeps up with the changing market and particularly the rise of internet sales.” 

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