The government and Civil Aviation Authority have deferred
implementation of the Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing (ATOL) scheme to April
2012 to allow the events industry more time to prepare.
Eventia, a trade body for the events industry, has welcomed
the decision and applauded the exemption of flight-only and flight-plus sales
to corporate entities from the scheme, but they continue to lobby its induction
to the B2B sector.
ATOL will provide financial protection for airline
passengers and prevent them from being stranded by carrying out stringent
checks on the tour operators and travel organisers it licenses.
Participation in a financial guarantee scheme run by the Air
Travel Trust (ATT) will also be a requirement if firms wish to receive the
Chairman of the Eventia Regulation Committee, Brian Kirsch
said: “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... this information will ultimately be
communicated, but not necessarily at time of issue of invoices/ATOL Certificate
nor directly to the traveller.”
Kirsch pointed out that in B2B, the passenger rarely pays
for their own ticket and if it is to be imposed on the sector then an agreement
needs to be sought with the Civil Aviation Authority on a practical
implementation that recognises protection is for the corporate client via a
named representative and not each individual passenger.
Pictured: Eventia's Brian Kirsch