Trailfinders has reiterated calls for the escrow accounting model to be mandatory for Atol holders and has written to a range of government departments to urge them to become involved in travel licensing.

Mike Gooley, founder and owner of Trailfinders, operates his business using escrow accounting and is a long-time critic of the CAA and industry bonding in general.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the company said: “Trailfinders has called on the CAA to issue the following policy statement – ‘The CAA are making the adoption of escrow accounting mandatory to the granting of an Atol. This carries none of the burden of full Trust Accounting but paves the way for this to be eventually a condition of licence in the future’.”

The statement went on to refer to a call from Gooley to the CAA in July last year to make the change, and said it was “beyond belief” that Atols had recently been granted to companies which were “flouting refund laws”.

Referring to last year’s call, the statement continued: “The argument is not why should this safeguard (Escrow Accounting) be in place, but why is it not?”

“Typically we received an oxymoronic excuse. ‘The industry cannot afford it.’”

It concluded: “The systemic flaws in the [Atol] scheme have been patched over time and time again only to open another avenue for manipulation, so that the majority of the public travel without Atol protection anyway.

“In near desperation, but not yet despair, TF have written to every government department who might take a pragmatic hand in righting the abject disorder of travel industry licensing.”