Views sought on Atol changes as regulator seeks to increase the pace of reform

Views sought on Atol changes as regulator seeks to increase the pace of reform

Responses from the industry must be submitted by March 24 with new rules set to be introduced in April next year

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) issued an update on Atol reform today with a ‘request for information’ from industry stakeholders to help finalise its proposals.

The CAA first proposed changes to the Atol scheme in a consultation in April 2021.

The reforms are aimed at improving protection of consumer payments and the financial resilience of the scheme through the mandatory segregation of customer money or bonding, or a combination of these, and by introducing a risk-based Atol Protection Contribution (APC) levied on bookings.

In its update, the CAA provides details on how several proposed options for reform could work, “recognising that businesses have different structures and ways of operating”.

The request for information does not set out a preferred option but clarifies the proposals laid out in the initial consultation and the CAA’s assessment of their likely impacts.

It provides details on how financial segregation options might work and the factors which could underpin a variable Atol Protection Contribution (APC) on bookings, and seeks industry views on these.

Increased pace

The document makes clear the CAA intends to move on reform at an increased pace, with a target for implementation of April 2024.

It promises a transition period of unspecified duration to allow businesses to adapt.

The closing date for responses to the latest proposals is March 24. The request for information will be followed by a consultation on detailed proposals later this year.

CAA consumer director Paul Smith said: “We’ve listened to stakeholder feedback and are providing greater clarity regarding our considerations.

“We want to get this right and this provides industry further opportunity to comment on the direction of travel of the reform programme, to assist us in the finalisation of our proposals.”

He insisted: “We will take full account of any changes and allow time for the industry to adjust accordingly.”

The final timetable for reform will depend on whether legislation is required.

Further information and/or to respond here