Size isn’t everything – so they say. But when it comes to Atol passenger figures it’s a good indication of the shifting fortunes among the major operators in the industry.
For the trade it allows you to see, at a glance, how the industry that supplies you with product or competes with you head-on has changed and continues to change.
After consolidation of the big four to the big two in 2007 and the failure of XL Leisure Group in 2008, the industry needed more competition and it has come from the north.
As Leeds-based Jet2 boss Steve Heapy told me in September, the opportunity the company saw at Stansted was in the “underserved” package holiday market from people demanding an Atol.
With Jet2 not having its own store network – unlike Tui and Cook – that’s got to be good news for agents.
Could Atol become a kite mark for consumer protection in travel within Europe?
After June’s Brexit vote, it would be deeply ironic if the UK’s approach to travel regulation were established as a gold standard in Europe just as we go it alone. Until then, the industry faces more change as Atol reforms yet again.
Some things never change.
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