The boss of online retailer Travel Republic has launched a blistering attack on the CAA in the wake of the authority’s refusal to call off its prosecution for alleged breaches of Atol rules. 

Today, in his debut column for Travel Weekly, Kane Pirie speaks publicly about the case for the first time – and he pulls no punches.

Describing the CAA as “package holiday fundamentalists”, he accuses it of refusing to accept the verdict of three courts that have found Travel Republic not guilty.

The CAA last week confirmed it is to seek leave to appeal a Court of Appeal ruling in the Supreme Court.

Pirie said: “With several million pounds of taxpayers’ money already squandered, surely Phil Hammond [transport secretary] cannot regard sponsoring the CAA on a fifth kamikaze mission as a spending priority? Frankly, it strikes me as reprehensibly irresponsible to even attempt it.”

Andy Cohen, head of Atol at the CAA, repeated assurances that the authority’s decision to approach the Supreme Court would not impact on its work to reform Atol.

“We feel that if we left the situation as it is, we wouldn’t be providing consumers with the certainty and clarity that the industry requires. That will not
be solved by new legislation.

“Even if we lose [in the Supreme Court], we need a firm judgment which explains why we lost that gives absolute clarity.”

However, Chris Photi partner at travel industry accounting specialists White Hart Associates, said: “I would rather see the CAA trying to protect the consumer by concentrating on changing legislation.”