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Air Travel Organisers' Licensing Scheme Reform

Volume 534: debated on Tuesday 25 October 2011

I am today announcing a change to the planned implementation date for the proposed reforms to the air travel organisers’ licensing (ATOL) scheme.

The ATOL reform consultation, which took place between 23 June and 15 September 2011, proposed that the new regulations for bringing flight-plus holidays into ATOL would come into force on 1 January 2012.

Over 80 responses to the consultation were received. The final details of the ATOL reforms are being decided in light of these responses. However the overwhelming view from the travel industry has been that implementation on 1 January 2012 would provide insufficient time for businesses to make the necessary preparations to comply with the new requirements. This is partly due to the time needed to update IT systems and put in place the processes required to enable businesses to identify when a flight-plus holiday has been formed.

In recognition of these concerns, and to ensure that the new regulations are implemented fully, consistently and in a way that minimises the scope for error and subsequent confusion among passengers, I have decided that the new regulations will not now come into force on 1 January. Instead I intend to implement the reforms in April 2012 in order to give the industry enough time to respond to these new consumer protection requirements.

I expect to make a further announcement before the end of the year about decisions on the other ATOL reform issues in the consultation.