ABTA welcomes UK decision to restrict ATOL reform

ABTA has welcomed confirmation by the UK department for transport it is to incorporate new wording in its draft regulations on ATOL reform to ensure that business travel is excluded from new “flight plus” arrangements.

The original proposal by the department would have left thousands of business travel arrangements requiring ATOL protection, something the industry has been united in opposing.

In its discussions with the CAA and Department for Transport, ABTA argued for confirmation that business travel should sit outside of the ATOL scheme, and proposed an alternative solution in the regulation wording to achieve this.

The move follows the government’s announcement last week that it has agreed to push back the timeline for implementation of the reforms to April 2012, following concerns raised by ABTA and others industry about the workability of implementing changes in such a short timescale.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA chief executive, said: “We are delighted that the Government has taken these steps to ensure that business travel is exempt from ATOL.

“ATOL is about protecting travel arrangements for consumers; business travel arrangements do not need this protection. 

“In coming weeks we are meeting with the Department for Transport and CAA and looking for them to provide further clarity on other key practical elements of the reforms including the “standard terms” and the remit of the Air Travel Trust Fund Trustees. 

“We are also repeating our call to them to provide a clear commitment to bringing airlines within the scope of reform. 

Only with the inclusion of airlines will the system be truly comprehensive, transparent and fair for both consumers and the industry.”