Travel organisers will need permission before using new ATOL Certificate

Date: 23 April 2012

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has today reminded travel organisers selling ATOL protected holidays that they will need permission from the CAA before they can start using the new ATOL Certificate.

The ATOL Certificate will offer consumers greater clarity on how their holiday is protected, and is being introduced as part of reforms to the ATOL scheme. Travel organisers will need to issue the certificate to their customers immediately after the booking is made, but have until 1 October before this requirement comes into force – allowing additional time for them to prepare their IT systems.

However, some travel organisers have recently indicated that they would want to issue the certificate before 1 October and the CAA has clarified the situation by reminding all travel organisers selling ATOL protected holidays that in order to use the certificate, they must first:

• Meet the CAA's criteria to demonstrate their systems are able to produce the certificate
• Gain formal permission from the CAA if they want to use the certificate before 1 October

David Moesli, Deputy Director for Consumer Protection Group at the CAA said:

“Whilst travel organisers do not have to start using the certificate until 1 October, we are aware that some may well be ready before that date, and it’s therefore important that we clarify what travel organisers must do if they want to use the certificate when the reforms come in to force.

“That’s why we have published the criteria that travel organisers have to meet to demonstrate they are ready and to ensure the certificate is used consistently. However, it is absolutely vital that as well as meeting the criteria, they remember they will not be able to use the certificate before 1 October unless they have our permission.”

Also published today is a series of style guides, which set out how the ATOL Certificate should look for the different types of ATOL protected bookings – package, flight only and flight-plus. These will be followed by comprehensive guidance on using the certificate, which will be published in the coming weeks.

To view the criteria and style guides please visit the ATOL Certificate page of the ATOL Reform web area, which also includes a short guide on all the changes related to ATOL Reform, a series of factsheets and an FAQ page.

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

Follow the CAA on http://www.twitter.com/UK_CAA @UK_CAA

Notes to Editors:
1. The ATOL Certificate is being introduced as part of reforms to the ATOL scheme, which come into force on 30 April 2012. The certificate will offer improved clarity to consumers on how their holiday is protected, and by whom.
2. Also 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 agency agreements, which will see travel suppliers and agencies sign written agreements confirming their relationships.
3. More information, guidance and advice on ATOL Reform is available from the CAA’s dedicated web area at www.atol.org.uk/reform.
4. 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.