No change to July deadline for new EU package rules, warns ABTA
ABTA today strove to clarify confusion over compliance to the new European package travel regulations.
The association’s chief executive Mark Tanzer stepped in following comments made by new Civil Aviation Authority head Richard Moriarty when he acknowledged a “compromised timescale” for compliance.
The chief executive of the regulator told the Barclays Travel Forum in London that the CAA would take a “proportionate monitoring stance” to compliance of the new package travel rules.
However, Abta pointed out that the CAA is only responsible for the monitoring and enforcement of licensing and financial protection under Atol regulations, so the wider remit of the package travel regulations will still be enforced as expected from July 1.
Tanzer said: “Articles in the trade press this week and comments from the CAA might have led some travel companies to believe that they will not need to comply with the new Package Travel Regulations from 1 July. This is wrong.
“The new regulations will apply to bookings made on or after 1 July and customers will have the protection that comes with those new regulations.
“There has been no indication from the government that this will not be the case and it has confirmed to Abta that it intends to implement the directive on time.
“The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is the responsible department and they have laid the regulations before Parliament.”
Tanzer added: “It’s important to remember that the CAA’s remit is just for the monitoring and enforcement of licensing and financial protection under the Atol scheme – so any grace period the CAA offers would just relate to this, not the much wider remit of the PTRs.
“For example if, under the new regulations, the travel services you sell are classed as package holidays and you are the organiser, you will have additional responsibilities, and customers will expect the legal and financial protections that these regulations provide.
“If the services are not delivered as required under the package, your customer could bring a claim against you.
“While we have conveyed our, and the industry’s, strength of feeling and frustration to both the government and the CAA that the series of delays has given the travel industry an extremely tight timescale to put the PTRs into place, the government is not able to delay the implementation of the PTR because they derive from an EU directive.”
And Tanzer stressed: “It’s really important that members continue to press on with implementing these changes. Abta is doing everything we can to help members get ready for 1 July; full information on the guidance and support available is on the Member Zone.
“Separately, this week members should be receiving a copy of Your Year at Abta – our annual report that summarises the work of the association over the past 12 months.
“The report sets out progress against Abta’s plan, highlighting our work to represent the industry on important issues including fraudulent holiday sickness claims and significant regulatory change, as well as providing an update on the work we’ve done to encourage people to travel with confidence by booking with an Abta member.”