Atol charge rebate for accredited bodies agreed

Atol charge rebate for accredited bodies agreed

The Air Travel Trust has agreed to repay 50% of the £2.50 Atol Protection Charge (APC) on all protected bookings made through an Accredited Body.

The arrangement will apply to more than 1,300 members of the eight Accredited Bodies: Advantage Travel Partnership, Barrhead Travel Services, Broadway Travel Services, Freedom Travel Group, Global Travel Group, Hays Travel, the Midcounties Co-operative and Travel Counsellors.

All will receive a £1.25 reimbursement, or ‘service charge’, on each Atol-protected booking after the CAA and trustees of the Air Travel Trust acknowledged the requirement for Accredited Bodies to operate trust accounts had removed financial risk to the trust.

The CAA introduced Accredited Bodies in 2012 and has required they have trust accounts in place since May 2014. The Accredited Bodies allow members to trade under their Atol and are responsible for all protected sales.

If a member collapses, the Accredited Body must make repatriation arrangements and provide refunds or alternative arrangements for holidaymakers yet to travel, meeting all costs of the failure. They may also provide booking systems and card-payment facilities for members.

CAA head of Atol, Andy Cohen, said: “Trust accounts have brought a much greater degree of resilience into the financial protection structure, which is good news for Accredited Body members and their customers.

“The new arrangements also mean the failure of an Accredited Body would have a significantly reduced impact on Air Travel Trust funds.

“We recognise this has represented a significant cost to the Accredited Bodies. So the trustees have decided to pay a service charge of £1.25 for each Atol booking.”

Payments will be made quarterly in arrears. The CAA is already reimbursing just over 100 Travel Trust Association members in the Travel Network Group.

The authority is considering extending the arrangement when new regulations are introduced under a revised Package Travel Directive.

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