CAA vows to make digital improvements to the UK’s Atol licensing scheme

CAA vows to make digital improvements to the UK’s Atol licensing scheme

Regulator’s Paul Smith told the ITT conference if you are not asking what you can do better with tech you are not doing your job

Developing a more digitised financial regulation system for the UK’s Atol package holiday licensing scheme is a priority for regulator the Civil Aviation Authority.

Paul Smith, the CAA’s group director of consumers and markets, told this week’s ITT conference in Istanbul that all organisations must ask themselves if they are doing enough with digital.

The authority intends to return to having Atol certificates, which are issued to customers after they book and pay the £2.50 per person Atol Protection Contribution, to be stored electronically and “potentially” centrally.

This will give the CAA and consumers better insight into who has been issued valid certificates and will cut down on Atol fraud, Smith said.

“We have made much progress with technology including for those who apply for licensing so hopefully it is a smarter process.

“We have improved technology on that side and on the consumer claim side. We have a portal to process those claims more effectively but there is more we can do. There are area we intend to work with the industry on.”

The CAA wants to use technology to speed up the processing of claims, and Smith said the authority appreciates that will have implications from an IT and data security perspective.

But he said: “There is more we can do around the claims process. We can pay claims quicker and communicate with claimants.
“Thomas Cook taught us a lot about how we can improve and communicate with consumers. When your travel agent has failed it can be a difficult experience for consumers.”

Smith added: “Ultimately when you look at things these days you have to ask yourself the question what can we do from a digitisation perspective? What can we do to improve the experience? If you are not doing that you are probably not doing your job.

“It’s really important to emphasise from a travel industry perspective this has been a scheme that has contributed a lot in providing assurance and confidence to consumers booking package holidays.

“There has been a real push on package holidays selling out of the pandemic. It’s right for us to look to improve the scheme both in terms of financial robustness and for the consumers who we all care about.”