Abta has threatened the government with legal action over its support levels for the travel sector during the Covid crisis.
The association said on Wednesday (12 May) it was considering judicial review action to "challenge the adequacy" of the UK government’s financial provision for travel.
It has sent the government a formal "letter before claim" setting out its intentions, a prerequisite of any judicial review proceedings.
Chief executive Mark Tanzer said the letter sought a response from government within the next two weeks.
In a statement, Abta said it was specifically challenging the level of financial support given to the UK travel sector when compared with other economic sectors, such as hospitality and personal care, which Abta say have been able to secure higher levels of funding "despite having more certainty of income".
Abta’s legal team argue government has “arbitrarily and unlawfully” failed to differentiate between the UK travel sector and other non-essential retail businesses when providing financial assistance.
The association’s letter further argues government has unlawfully failed to take account of relevant considerations during the decision-making process regarding financial support packages, and failed to undertake economic impact assessments to assess the effect of ongoing restrictions on the UK travel sector.
"We would far rather that adequate financial support for the sector could be given without the need to turn to legal action," said Tanzer. "This letter asks for a formal government response within the next two weeks. If we can’t resolve this issue by then, we may be compelled to issue legal proceedings."
It comes after Abta reiterated its call for greater financial support for travel following government confirmation of Friday of only a limited resumption of international travel from Monday (17 May), which is said would likely further delay the sector’s recovery.
Abta has also called for more countries to be opened up using the traffic light system to manage risk at the next review of the UK’s traffic light categories in early June.