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Eventia lobbies Civil Aviation Authority over implementation of ATOL reform

Eventia has welcomed the Government’s decision to allow more time for the industry to prepare for its ATOL reform by deferring implementation to April 2012.

Following Eventia’s response back in September to the Government’s consultation on reforming the scheme, which provides financial protection for airline passengers and holidaymakers, Brian Kirsch, chairman of the Eventia Regulation Committee says he also applauds the decision to exempt Flight-only and Flight-plus sales to corporate entities, which would have been an unnecessary extension of ATOL in the business to business environment. 

“We continue to maintain however that it’s unfair and anomalous that B2B transactions with major corporate clients need to be protected by ATOL,” says Kirsch. “We still question why ATOL to ATOL sales exist. We question why a company selling seats to an ATOL holder is required to hold an ATOL themselves. Surely the company to whom the sale is made, being an ATOL holder, is the entity which ultimately provides protection to the consumer?” 

In Eventia’s submission to the consultation by the Department of Transport, the association expressed the view that B2B transactions should be exempt from all ATOL requirements.  

“Acknowledging paragraph 4.5 of the reform, if this is to be imposed on the B2B sector, we would now seek an agreement with the Civil Aviation Authority on a practical implementation,” Kirsch concedes. “It is often not possible within a business environment to include passenger names and other basic information at the point of first raising an invoice or even a second invoice. Frequently, not only are the passenger names not known, but also routing, exact numbers flying or flight information may not be known at that point. Such information can be supplied via the prime client contact, via a website, or when an e-ticket is issued. This information will ultimately be communicated, but not necessarily at time of issue of invoices/ATOL Certificate nor directly to the traveller. 

“It is important to remember that in B2B, the passenger very rarely pays for their own ticket, so protection is to the corporate client via their named representative. We need to agree with the UK Civil Aviation Authority that for B2B bookings, the detailed information required on the ATOL certificate need only be completed prior to departure and communicated to the principal client contact, not necessarily to every traveller listed.”  

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