The final piece of the jigsaw to write the EU’s Package Travel Directive (PTD) into UK law - the new Atol regulations and Atol standard terms - was published by the CAA on Friday (June 8).
It comes after the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) published the new Package Travel Regulations (PTRs) in April, although the industry still awaits guidance notes.
Simon Bunce, Abta’s director of legal services, said the association welcomed the new Atol regulations, and said it would review the changes ahead of issuing its own guidance.
“We are pleased the government and CAA have responded to industry concerns and dropped or delayed a number of the initial proposals,” he said.
“That doesn’t detract from the fact this legislation has come out three weeks before it takes effect."
Abta previously warned the CAA was proposing changes to the Atol scheme that went “beyond PTD” in an effort to “gold plate” the legislation.
The CAA said it had adapted its proposals in light of “industry concern” to make compliance “more achievable”, including deferring some measures not required for implementation of PTD until next April, such as requirement for certain consumer information to be displayed or provided at point of purchase.
It has also made good on new chief executive Richard Moriarty’s promise of a three-month “moratorium” on enforcement, although this will only apply to requirements of the PTD for which the CAA has oversight.
“We acknowledges the travel industry’s view there’s insufficient time for some changes, particularly system changes, to be made,” said the CAA.
“We’ve decided to take a proportionate approach to enforcement of compliance. Atol holders are expected to take steps to comply immediately, but for a period of three months, our enforcement stance will be focused mainly on monitoring and gaining confidence Atol holders are taking steps to become compliant.
"After that, we will review progress on an individual company basis.”
Compliance with some aspects of the new Atol arrangements will also depend on whether an operator is due to renew its licence in September this year, or next March, said the CAA.
BEIS has said while enforcement of the PTRs will start on July 1, it will be “pragmatic” and impose “minimal additional burdens” on business.
Key changes to the Atol regulations include: application of the regulations to protect sales in the European Economic Area (EEA) by companies established in the UK; application of the regulations to traders acting as agent for consumers; a ban on EEA traders based outside the UK holding an Atol even when selling in the UK; and there being no requirement for UK agents of EEA package organisers to hold their own Atol.