Abta to face board dissent over Atol trust plan

Abta is likely to face significant opposition from its board to its plan to offer trust account facilities to members requiring the proposed flight-plus Atol to be introduced next year.

Association chairman John McEwan confirmed last week that the associatoin’s new head of financial protection John de Vial will look at proposals for trust arrangements, something already dismissed as an option by rival groups.

However, Travel Weekly understands at least one major Abta member has already ruled out support for such arrangements and would veto any move to offer these at board level.

McEwan, who first revealed Abta’s intention to end its long-standing opposition to trusts to Travel Weekly in February, made clear any decision on trust arrangements would require the agreement of the board.

He told Travel Weekly last week: “Abta is looking at the question of trust accounts. It is weighing up the options. But if we went down that route, the board would have to decide. It would require the agreement of the board.”

He added: “It will be difficult to come up with a solution everyone is happy with. But we want to meet the government’s requirements in a way that is fair and equitable. Abta is a broad church and we need to find a solution the majority of members can live with.”

McEwan agreed there is a risk some Abta members may seek to avoid the costs of joining an extended Atol scheme by acting as agents of the customer. He said: “Retailers could act on behalf of a client by using the card of the customer. We have to see whether there is avoidance.”

But he added: “There is no point the government coming up with recommendations that people can find ways of avoiding. We want a solution that people can buy into. “The vast majority of Abta members are in favour of a simpler, broader scheme of financial protection. There is a willingness to come up with a solution.”


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