ATIPAC calls for further action towards clear and total consumer protection

Date: 25 July 2013

The Air Travel Insolvency Protection Advisory Committee (ATIPAC) has praised the impact of last year’s changes to the ATOL scheme, calling the ATOL Certificate a potential “game changer”. However, the Committee is calling for further action to bring total financial protection for consumers.

In its annual report, published today, the Committee welcomes the changes brought in through ATOL Reform. The Committee believes the changes mark a significant step towards clear and total financial protection, with the certificate making a particular impact on consumer awareness. The report also praises the travel industry for the way it has supported the changes, and shown resilience despite the challenges it has faced in recent years.

However, despite the positive impact of the ATOL Reform, the Committee believes there is still more to be done to make sure financial protection remains in line with how the travel market develops in the future.

John Cox, Chair of ATIPAC, said:

“The changes that have occurred under ATOL Reform have been a major step forward and are whole heartedly endorsed by this Committee. However we feel there is much more that can be achieved and call on the Government to ensure that financial protection keeps up with the changing market of the travel industry and particularly the rise in internet sales.”

The Committee has also highlighted the need for further changes to financial protection to be joined-up in order to make sure consumers benefit from clear, total and integrated protection. This includes ensuring ATOL Reform, the revised Package Travel Directive and future changes set out in the Civil Aviation Act are robust and consistent with each other.

The ATIPAC Annual Report is available here and for more information on ATIPAC visit: www.atipac.org.uk.

To interview John Cox, Chairman of ATIPAC please contact; the CAA press office on 020 7453 6030.


Notes to Editors

The Air Travel Insolvency Protection Advisory Committee was established by the Secretary of State for Transport in 2000 to keep under review and provide advice to the Civil Aviation Authority, the Trustees of the Air Travel Trust and the Secretary of State for Transport on the financial protection arrangements for air travellers and customers of air travel organisers. The committee’s members include representatives of all the main travel trade bodies and independent and consumer representatives, as well as the CAA. Details can be found in the report.

The Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing scheme (ATOL) is managed by the CAA. It gives comprehensive protection to holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money when purchasing air holidays and flights from licensed tour operators. It is the only licensing scheme for tour operators that sell air holidays and flights. In holding a licence, tour operators meet European Package Travel Directive insolvency protection requirements.

If a licence holder fails, the CAA is responsible for ensuring that customers are either repatriated back to the UK or receive a refund of payments made.

Repatriation costs and refunds are met by the Air Travel Trust Fund, the funds of which principally come from the ATOL Protection Contribution (APC) that each licence holder is required to make when it accepts a booking under its ATOL. In some circumstances a licence holder will have also provided a bond, which is used in the first instance to protect customers.