The ATOL scheme exists to protect consumers if their travel organiser should fail. It ensures consumers are not
stranded abroad or do not lose money paid to the travel organiser for holidays and flights.
The first ATOL Regulations requiring businesses to hold a licence were introduced in the 1970’s. Since then they
have been replaced with new regulations in 1995 and again in 2012.
These regulations came into force in April 2012 and introduced a number of new concepts such as:
Further information on the background to the introduction of the ATOL Regulations
The ATOL Regulations set out who can advertise and sell flight accommodation in the UK.
Basically, these are:
Anyone selling a Flight-Only, a flight-inclusive package or a Flight-Plus in the UK must fall into one of the above
categories, which means that, if you are not the operator of the aircraft or you are not exempt, you must hold an ATOL
to provide financial protection for your customers.
Read about choosing the right ATOL
The full list of exempted persons is in Regulation 10 of the ATOL Regulations and these include the following:
The CAA may additionally exempt other persons (a Specific Exemption) or exempt a description of persons (a Class
Exemption). The current exemptions are published in Official Record Series 3.
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