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Atol Certificate won’t be ready in time for Flight-Plus start date

The Atol Certificate to be issued by retailers under the new Flight-Plus regulations will not be ready in time for the January 1 deadline.

Travel Weekly understands the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has accepted the Atol Certificate cannot be produced in time to meet the start date for the new Flight-Plus licence – placing a question mark over whether Atol reform will be postponed.

April 1 is the most likely alternative launch date for the Atol Certificate.

The Department for Transport has refused to confirm the delay and the CAA declined to comment.

The CAA has been working on details of the certificate, to be issued to consumers at the point of booking, since the announcement of the Flight-Plus reforms in February.

It has held a series of meetings with senior industry representatives to discuss the implementation. However, the technical difficulties are proving difficult to resolve.

A CAA spokesman said the certificate is seen as integral to the Atol reforms. “It is a package of measures,” he said. Previously the CAA has said: “The aim is to implement it in one big bang.”

Questioned about a delay, a DfT spokesman said: “You will have to ask the CAA about the Atol Certificate.”

The spokesman added: “We would hope to give an update in the near future. We will consider all options.”

The DfT is expected to issue revised Flight-Plus proposals this month.

Abta also declined to comment, although a senior industry source said: “The certificate deadline is impossible.”

However, Abta did reaffirm its support for the reforms. Abta head of legal affairs Simon Bunce said: “By this time next year, we will be saying ‘this [reform] is not bad’. But we are going to have six months of complete chaos.”

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