CAA launches industry education campaign as Government confirms ATOL scheme reforms

Date: 09 February 2012

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has today launched an ATOL reform awareness campaign for partners in the travel industry, following the Government’s decision to reform the scheme to give up to six million passengers greater protection when they travel.

The Government are reforming ATOL to extend protection and improve clarity for holidaymakers. To ensure the travel industry is fully aware of the changes being made and how they will affect businesses, the CAA has launched an education campaign that begins with today’s release of an information update paper for industry about the proposed reforms. This paper incorporates changes to the original proposals following responses to the Government’s consultation last year, and feedback from industry and consumer organisations through CAA’s ongoing dialogue with them on reform.

The paper will be complemented by further support for the industry as they prepare for the changes to come into force, including a dedicated area on the CAA website. Also included in the support package will be a simple guide to ATOL reforms, templates and guidance on how to issue the new ATOL certificates; all to be published over the coming weeks.

The CAA will also be speaking directly to travel trade staff from across the country, with over 50 events planned for the coming months. These include the CAA’s own events – where travel operators and agencies can ask about the licensing process - as well as having CAA representatives taking part in events run by industry organisations. Details of the events where the CAA will be speaking have also been published today at www.atol.org.uk/reform

Richard Jackson, Group Director for Consumer Protection at the Civil Aviation Authority said:

“We welcome the Government’s decision to move forward with ATOL reform. We have long argued that the scheme should have the needs of the consumer at its heart, and this decision will bring substantial benefits to UK holidaymakers, as well as offering greater clarity to the travel industry.

“There’s no doubt that these reforms will mean changes for the whole industry, so it’s essential that businesses are prepared for when they come into force. Our efforts are therefore now focused on working with the industry to ensure they fully understand what the reforms are, how they will affect their business and the action they now need to take.”

Full details are included in the CAA’s paper on ATOL reform, which is available from the ATOL reform section of the CAA website: www.atol.org.uk/reform
. The ATOL web area also includes information on the ATOL reform events the CAA will be speaking at, and will soon host a range of additional support materials as part of the ATOL education campaign.

For further media information contact the CAA Press Office on: 0207 453 6030; press.office@caa.co.uk

Follow the CAA on www.twitter.com/UK_CAA

Notes to Editors:
1. The ATOL scheme ensures people who have booked an air holiday with an ATOL holder are protected if their travel organiser ceases trading – bringing them back to the UK if abroad, or refunding them if yet to travel. However, with the emergence of the internet meaning people now book holidays in different ways, there is often confusion amongst the public over whether holidays are protected or not. To address this situation, the Government has today confirmed it will move forward with a series of reforms
2. Included in the reforms is the introduction of ‘Flight-Plus’ – ensuring flights sold with accommodation and/or car hire on consecutive days are financially protected - and new ATOL certificates to help holidaymakers understand how their holidays are protected. In addition, agency agreements will see travel suppliers and agencies sign written agreements confirming their relationships.
3. The CAA update paper was launched following the Government’s decision to proceed with reforms. which itself follows the recent introduction in Parliament of the Civil Aviation Bill. The Bill is sponsored by the Department for Transport and is available to view at:
4. The Civil Aviation Bill aims to modernise the CAA’s regulatory powers to deliver a more flexible approach that puts the consumer at its heart.
5. Details of the reforms were first announced in a Department for Transport consultation last year with further detail included in the CAA’s information paper in November
6. The update paper also includes a consultation on the ATOL Protection Contribution (APC), on which the CAA welcomes responses from the travel industry.
7. The CAA is the UK's specialist aviation regulator. Its activities include: making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards; preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of travel company insolvency; planning and regulating all UK airspace; and regulating airports, air traffic services and airlines and providing advice on aviation policy from an economic standpoint.