CAA to accredit travel agents wanting to use new ATOL certificates before October launch
Travel agents selling holidays protected by the new ATOL certificates
before they come into force on 1 October need to seek permission
from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
The new scheme will accredit companies issuing ATOL certificates
, which are designed to prevent confusion among consumers
as to how their holidays are protected eg The certificates will guarantee to the holder that if their tour operator ceases trading they will be brought home by the CAA or refunded if they haven’t travelled.
Although the new ATOL certificates will not come into effect until October, companies may issue them after 30 April – but must be accredited by the CAA to ensure that their IT systems are able to produce the certificates.
The new ATOL certificates will be issued as soon as a holiday booking is made and the CAA has introduced style guides to show how each certificate covering different travel arrangements – package, flight only and flight-plus – should look.
October was set as the launch date to enable travel agents to make sure their IT systems were able to cope with producing the different styles of certificate required. A new guide on how to use the certificates will also be published in the next few weeks.
The latest travel agent to be accredited by the CAA under the Flight Plus scheme is the Global Travel Group
The group has said the scheme will enable its members to sell ATOL-protected holidays
to consumers under its own accreditation without having to secure their own ATOL accreditation.
The CAA’s deputy director for its Consumer Protection Group, David Moesli, 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.”