Following the previous expectations of a pre-Christmas call for evidence on the ATOL reform from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), a knowledgeable source has claimed that the call should be expected “within weeks”.
The ATOL reform has been a much speculated, and very active, event since April of 2021 and following the last call upon the public for contributions, a call for evidence was expected to come before Christmas of 2022. This was, according to the Department of Transport, held up against internal wishes, but a source that has knowledge of the reform process has stated this week that the call for evidence we’ve been waiting for can be expected very soon.
Michael Budge, the head of operations for aviation and travel at the CAA, said in December of 2022 that they would be seeking further feedback from the travel industry before the second ATOL reform consultation took place. He said, “It’s a chance to comment before we set out the final consultation.” It is to be believed that the second consultation could take place in the autumn of 2023, based on the information given.
First proposed in April 2021, the ATOL reforms stated that they would require all ATOL holders to use trust, escrow or separate accounts for customer money, bonds, or a combination in order to protect customer monies that are protected under ATOL.
The next consultation was expected with more detailed proposals last year in 2022 following a summary released by the CAA of the huge number of industry responses to the first consultation. Despite this, the CAA has yet to publish a response, which is now expected to be released with the subsequent call for evidence.
The knowledgeable source stated that the CAA “is keen to get on with it” despite the fact that “bureaucracy got in the way” and revealed that the coming document “is sitting with the Department for Transport (DfT). The interest in this at the DfT is no secret.”
Baroness Vere, the Aviation Minister, commented on the matter and said, “We can’t have people operating on wafer-thin margins, relying on payments from customers yet to take their holidays.”
According to the source, the call for evidence will be “a targeted consultation with specific questions” and was summarised as more of a discussion on narrowed choices such as “We think the reform should go this way. What are your views?” followed by potential questions like, “The options have narrowed. [It will ask] ‘if this was one of the options, how would it impact your business?’”
It was also noted by the source that, “The point is to get this right. What is good for a small Atol holder would not be good for Tui or Jet2.”
So, if you’d like to learn more about how your consumers’ monies are protected with Protected Trust Services (PTS) and how we support excellent travel businesses, check out our pages. Or you can get in touch with the lovely PTS team by calling 0207 190 9988 or emailing us at email@example.com.