• The UK Civil Aviation Authority is inviting views on proposed changes to the ATOL regulatory system
  • The changes are intended to lead to better direct protection of consumers' money and improve the financial resilience of the ATOL scheme

The UK Civil Aviation Authority has today launched a consultation on ATOL, which will consider evolving the regulatory framework to improve financial resilience.

At present, some ATOL protected travel businesses use their customers' advance payments for their holidays to fund their own operations, before the customers have had their holidays. This is a long-standing practice in the industry, but in some cases it may fail to incentivise sufficiently robust financing arrangements. The proposed changes will look at new approaches that would reduce the risk posed to consumers should any individual travel business cease to trade.

The Covid-19 pandemic has also further highlighted how challenging it was for some businesses to pay customers the refunds to which they were entitled.

The consultation will close on 30 July 2021 and the UK Civil Aviation Authority will then consider recommendations ahead of launching a second consultation making specific proposals in early 2022.

Commenting, Paul Smith, Director at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said:

“The ATOL scheme exists to protect consumers, and it is therefore right that we work to continually strengthen its financial resilience. Following several large ATOL failures in recent years, we have become concerned about the impact of businesses using consumers' money as a source of funding working capital. That's why we are seeking people's views on changing these arrangements to further enhance ATOL protection of customers' money.

“The travel industry can be reassured that we understand the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on their finances. We will take full account of the need to allow industry to adjust to any new arrangements that will be implemented following the overall consultation process.”

For further information, visit: ATOL Reform - Civil Aviation Authority - Citizen Space (caa.co.uk)