Ministers to place Linked Travel Arrangements outside Atol

Ministers to place Linked Travel Arrangements outside Atol

The government will ignore industry demands for the CAA to regulate Linked Travel Arrangements (LTAs) as part of the Atol regime under new Package Travel Regulations to come into force in July.

LTAs will instead by regulated by local authority Trading Standards’ officers, with the government deciding this new category of bookings created by the European Package Travel Directive (PTD) to capture “click‑through” sales between websites might otherwise compromise the Atol scheme.

The Department for Business (BEIS) has yet to publish the regulations to enshrine the directive in UK law. These will widen the definition of a package to include bookings now deemed Flight-Plus in the UK.

Bookings defined as LTAs will require financial protection against the risk of a company going bust, but they will not carry the liabilities of a package.

The Department for Transport (DfT) and BEIS declined to comment. However, Travel Weekly understands confirmation is imminent. The DfT oversees the Atol regulations.

Abta and the CAA have questioned whether many current UK bookings would fall within the definition of an LTA. But there are concerns the LTA category could offer a means to avoid compliance with the new regulations.

The DfT noted a “clear preference [in the industry] for the inclusion of flight-related LTAs within the Atol scheme” when it consulted on potential changes to the Atol scheme in late 2016.

Abta director of legal affairs Simon Bunce said: “The government and CAA are still to publish the draft Atol regulations and Atol Standard Terms, which should clarify the situation.”

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