Tui Travel has confirmed its opposition to a proposal by Abta to offer trust arrangements to retail members who require a flight-plus Atol.
Trust arrangements would remove the requirement for first-time Atol holders to provide a bond when consumer-protection regulations are extended to dynamic packages next year.
Johan Lundgren, managing director of Tui UK and Ireland, told Travel Weekly in a TWnewsmaker video interview: “There has to be a level playing field, with one regulation for everyone in the marketplace.”
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He insisted: “Atol should include [scheduled] carriers – it is ridiculous it does not.” But he added: “Some companies want to avoid some costs of doing business.”
Asked whether he would be happy to see Abta provide trust arrangements for retailers that required an Atol, Lundgren said: “That is not the right way to go. It would add to the confusion.”
He added: “I’m not comfortable with retailers acting as agents of the customer. Some Abta members would avoid the costs of financial protection [by doing that]. It would not be fair. It would add to the complexity and add to the confusion.”
Abta chairman John McEwan agreed last week that some members might seek to avoid the costs of a flight-plus licence by acting as agents of the client.
Lundgren denied claims that Tui Travel and Thomas Cook benefited from the Atol scheme or were responsible for the deficit in the Air Travel Trust Fund that backs it.
He said: “The deficit in the Air Travel Trust Fund is not due to the cost of failures at our end. The amount of money we pay in has not benefited us or our customers.
“When there is an incident we take care of our customers and the customers of other companies.”