CAA reassures Lowcostholidays customers their ATOL certificates are valid

Date: 06 November 2013

No ATOL protection for bookings from 01 November 2013

Following Lowcostholidays Ltd’s decision to transfer its business from the UK to Spain on 01 November 2013, the UK Civil Aviation Authority today announced that customers with an ATOL certificate provided by Lowcostholidays will continue to be protected by the scheme. This is contrary to what the company told its customers.

The CAA’s priority is that consumers receive the ATOL protection they expected when they purchased their holiday. The short notice of the transfer and the company’s failure to provide timely information about it, mean that the CAA has been unable to understand why Lowcostholidays states that their customers’ ATOL certificates are no longer valid. Today’s announcement should assure consumers that their money is safe and that their holiday retains its ATOL protection.

Andy Cohen, Head of ATOL said: “People who booked with Lowcostholidays bought an ATOL protected holiday and we believe they deserve to be able to take an ATOL protected holiday. This decision means that thousands of customers who had holidays booked before 01 November can be reassured that the ATOL scheme will stand behind them.”

Since the company contacted its customers last Friday informing them of the changes, a number have contacted the CAA, worried about their protection. Consumer representative bodies, trade associations and the media have also sought more information and reassurance. Today’s announcement is the best way the CAA can reassure customers their holiday is still protected by ATOL if anything goes wrong.

For customers booking after 01 November 2013, the CAA can confirm that there is no ATOL protection, and any protection available would be provided through the Spanish authorities. We are in contact with our Spanish counterparts to ensure information on those arrangements can be made available to UK consumers.

For more information contact the CAA press office on: 020 7453 6030.

Follow the CAA on Twitter at @UK_CAA

Notes to Editors

1. Lowcostholidays Ltd have confirmed to the CAA that consumers who are unhappy with the new arrangements can request a full refund from the company until 0200 Friday 08 November 2013.
2. The Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (ATOL) protects people against the risk of their travel company going bust: ensuring they can continue their holiday and return home safely if the company collapses whilst they are away; or providing refunds if they’re yet to travel.
3. Run by the UK Civil Aviation Authority on behalf of the Government, ATOL covers the traditional package holiday, some individual flights and holidays known by the industry as ‘Flight-Plus’. A ‘Flight-Plus’ booking is one that includes a flight plus accommodation and/or car hire, so long as these separate parts of the holiday are requested within a day of each other.
4. The Air Travel Trust (ATT) provides funds for the ATOL scheme. It is administered on behalf of the ATT by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
5. The ATT Trustees have announced that in light of the company’s actions, consumers will receive the ATOL protection included at the time of purchase and reflected in the ATOL certificates they received.
6. The CAA is the UK's specialist aviation regulator. Its regulatory activities range from making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards to preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of tour operator insolvency.