THE travel industry has welcomed news the Civil Aviation
Authority will carry out further work on the financial protection
of holidaymakers – but warned politicians to ‘get on
with it’.

The CAA has been asked by the Government to further investigate
various consumer protection options regarding air travel. This
follows analysis of the CAA review which recommended bringing
scheduled air within the ATOL system (Travel Weekly July 23).

The work will be finished by March next year according to CAA
deputy director of the consumer protection group David Moesli.

In a statement this week, the Department for Transport
recognised rising numbers of consumers are not covered by the
existing ATOL scheme.

It now wants the CAA – in consultation with the trade
– to devise “a range of interim voluntary measures”, while
the CAA explores long-term options including voluntary and
mandatory schemes that may involve bonding, insurance, and/or a
consumer protection levy of “maybe £1 to £2”.

Association of Independent Tour Operators director Noel
Josephides called the move “a step in the right direction” but
added “the months keep slipping by”. “Every month that goes by is a
nail in the coffin of traditional air operators.”

Moesli said temporary protection measures would include pop-up
boxes on airlines’ websites informing the public they are
making bookings without financial protection. Details of how the
CAA will consult the travel industry on this latest development are
undecided.

Association of ATOL Companies chairman David Mortimer applauded
the news an airline consumer protection scheme is squarely on the
CAA agenda.

ABTA aviation committee chairwoman Doreen McKenzie was
“delighted to see a timetable has been set” as long as the trade is
consulted.