The Air Travel Insolvency Protection Advisory Committee (Atipac) has warned the government “not to water down” financial protection for UK holidaymakers, saying it is “very concerned” about elements of Europe’s new Package Travel Directive (PTD).
Atipac said the removal of regulatory responsibility from the country where a holiday is sold to the place of establishment of the holiday company “is at the heart of those concerns”.
The committee, made of industry and consumer representatives, advises the government on financial protection for leisure air travellers.
Atipac described the current Air Travel Organisers Licensing (Atol) scheme as “highly effective”. But its annual report for 2015, published today, warns the revised PTD risks undermining protection for UK holidaymakers.
It said the move to make a company’s place of establishment determine the state responsible for protection “will be confusing for consumers” and “place a significant administrative burden” on protection-scheme providers.
Atipac warned: “It will also require strict enforcement from the European Commission to ensure protection is consistently applied across different European states.”
The committee also raised concerns about how to ensure compliance from companies outside Europe.
Atipac said it had already raised the issues with the Department for Business (BIS), Department for Transport (DfT) and the European Parliament’s committee on the internal market and consumer protection, and remains ready to assist the Government ahead of implementing the new PTD.
John Cox, Atipac chairman, said: “We are pleased to see the PTD is progressing, but we are very concerned about how some of its measures could impact UK consumers.
“UK consumers receive a very effective level of protection through the existing Atol scheme and, however the Government decides to implement the new PTD, that level of protection must not be undermined.”
Cox warned: “This is a critical moment for the future of financial protection arrangements.”
New Atipac members appointed in the past year include On the Beach chief executive Simon Cooper, easyJet Holidays general manager Mandy Round and Citizens’ Advice consumer strategy manager Sue Russell.
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