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Published on : Tuesday, July 14, 2015
The Air Travel Insolvency Protection Advisory Committee (ATIPAC) has today warned the Government not to water down the “highly effective” financial protection provided by ATOL when it implements the revised European Package Travel Directive (PTD).
In its annual report for 2014/15 – published today – the committee makes it clear that it remains very concerned about the prospect of measures in the revised Package Travel Directive undermining the financial protection currently available to UK holidaymakers.
The move to make a company’s place of establishment determine the state responsible for protecting that company’s consumers, rather than the place where holidays are sold, is at the heart of those concerns.
The committee, established by Government to provide advice on financial protection arrangements for air travellers, believes this measure will be confusing for consumers, as well as placing a significant administrative burden on protection scheme providers. It will also require strict enforcement from the European Commission to ensure protection is being consistently applied across different European states, while there are also concerns about how to ensure compliance from travel companies based outside of Europe.
During the last year, ATIPAC has raised these issues with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Department for Transport and the European Parliament’s Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection. It has now set up a sub-committee to continue to investigate the measures that could affect UK consumers and is ready to assist the Government in any way it can ahead of implementation of the new PTD.
John Cox, Chair of ATIPAC, said:
“We are pleased to see the long-awaited PTD is progressing, but are very concerned about how some its measures could impact UK consumers – particularly making where a business is located determine which state is responsible for protecting holidaymakers. UK consumers currently receive a very effective level of protection through the existing ATOL scheme and however the Government decides to implement the new PTD, that level of protection must not be undermined.
“This is now a critical moment for the future of the financial protection arrangements. As an independent committee with a wealth of experience of consumer and travel industry issues, we stand ready to assist the Government to ensure that UK holidaymakers continue to enjoy financial protection that is clear, easy to access and appropriately funded.”
As well as investigating the potential impacts of the new PTD, the past year also saw the committee help shape the CAA’s “Pack Peace of Mind” consumer campaign. This campaign has helped improve consumer understanding of the ATOL scheme and the committee has made it clear that the momentum the campaign has achieved should not be lost through the implementation of the PTD.
Finally, the report welcomed the contributions of six new members to ATIPAC. Simon Cooper, CEO at On the Beach; Helen Knapman, Senior News Reporter at MoneySavingExpert.com; Keith Richards, Chair of the CAA Consumer Panel; Mandy Round, General Manager at easyJet holidays; Sue Russell, Consumer, Strategy Manager at Citizens’ Advice; and Sandra Webber, Chair of the Water Services Disputes Panel have all joined ATIPAC in the last year and bring significant skills and experience to the committee.