New ATOL certificate comes into force

New ATOL certificate comes into force

New ATOL Certificates have come into force and will now be given to anyone buying a holiday protected by the ATOL scheme.

Announced by aviation minister Simon Burns, the scheme is designed to better protect holidaymakers from losing out if their travel company fails.

Anyone who books an ATOL-protected holiday or flight will immediately get an ATOL Certificate confirming the details of the booking and their level of protection.

It is designed to make clear to UK holidaymakers in a simple, straightforward way how their holiday is financially protected.

With holidays protected by the Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing scheme passengers get either a full refund or repatriation if they are already abroad when their holiday company becomes insolvent.

Burns said: “The internet has made booking a holiday easier but that can lead to a lack of clarity on the important matter of what happens if the holiday company runs into trouble.

“The ATOL Certificate will give peace of mind to millions when booking their holiday.

“Whether on a computer, the phone or in a travel agent, holidaymakers will not only complete their booking but also receive a certificate removing any doubt over their level of cover.

The Civil Aviation Bill currently going through parliament includes a clause which could enable the transport secretary to make further changes to the ATOL scheme in future.

This could mean holidays sold by airlines and holidays arranged on an ‘agent for the consumer’ basis being brought into the scheme.

“I want this certificate to become a standard travel document that families will expect alongside their flight tickets and holiday details,” added Burns.

The ATOL Certificate is the final stage of reforms introduced on 30th April to modernise the scheme, including bringing Flight Plus holidays into the ATOL scheme and returning it to financial self-sustainability.

Deirdre Hutton, chair of the Civil Aviation Authority, said: “It’s been clear for some time that people are confused about holiday financial protection, and consumers have told us that they want more clarity about how their holidays are protected.

“The introduction of the ATOL Certificate will mean that people can clearly see on one standard document what is protected, who is protecting it and what they should do if their company fails.

“It’s a change in the scheme that will make simple what currently can seem very complex: with the certificate consumers have protection, without it they do not.”

There is more information on the CAA website.