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Department for transport announces ATOL reforms

Department for transport announces ATOL reforms

The British department for transport has announced a series of reforms to the Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing (ATOL) scheme, which insures passengers against the collapse of a tour operator.

Effective from April 30th 2012, ‘Flight Plus’ holidays will receive the same financial protection as flight-based package holidays through the ATOL scheme. 

A ‘Flight Plus’ holiday is when a customer buys a flight and accommodation and/or car hire, together (either on the same day as the flight, the day before or the day after) from the same travel company. 

Mark Tanzer, ABTA chief executive said: “ABTA has long called for reform of the ATOL scheme of financial protection to ensure that it provides greater protection and transparency for consumers. 

“We believe all holidays, however they are booked, should be financially protected. 

“The package of reforms announced – most notably the extension of protection to include ‘Flight Plus’ holidays - mark a significant first step to improving a system that is outdated, unfair and confusing; we consider the inclusion of holidays sold by airlines an essential second step.”

Also confirmed was the decision to postpone the introduction of ATOL Certificates until October 1st 2012, a move that ABTA has called for to give travel businesses time to adapt to the changes. 

There was also confirmation business travel sales to corporate entities will be exempt from the scheme.

The Government expects six million more holidays to be brought into financial protection as a result of the reforms; however ABTA notes that around 44 per cent of the holiday market will still remain unprotected as holiday sales by airlines are not within the scope of the scheme.