Abta has welcomed the CAA’s publication of amended Atol regulations ahead of new Package Travel Regulations (PTRs) coming into force next month, calling it “a relief”.

But legal affairs director Simon Bunce said: “It should have all happened by January 1 – talk about making life difficult.”

The CAA has deferred several measures Abta considered unnecessary to implement the PTRs. Bunce said: “The proposals around disclosure of information to consumers have been held off to next April. That is good. It’s a relief given the amount of work people have to do in a very short time.

“Travel agents are trying to understand this; tour operators and bonding organisations are trying to understand it; we’re trying to get all our members to understand what they are doing and look at agency agreements; insurance companies are trying to understand their exposure – all in three weeks. It’s not very good.”

Time is so short that many businesses will not be ready from July 1. Bunce said: “Those whose business models aren’t changing can be ready. Agents who decide they are just going to be travel agents can be ready.

“But a majority of travel firms will be a mix of the two. They will be ready eventually but won’t be able to do everything from July.”

The CAA has promised merely to monitor and not enforce the Atol rules until October, though Bunce warned: “If people have bought a package from you, you will be liable.”

The new rules will apply only to bookings made on or after July 1. Bunce said: “Most of this summer has been sold and those bookings will be dealt with under the existing regulations.”

MoreSpecial Report: CAA responds to industry issues with new Atol rules