Changes to the Atol scheme will be introduced in April, but companies will have until October to make sure their systems comply, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said this week.

CAA consumer protection group director Richard Jackson confirmed the delay on Tuesday when he told Parliament’s transport select committee: “It will be difficult for the industry to be ready by April because it can’t move until a Department for Transport [DfT] announcement [on final details].

“We will wait until probably October 1 for all the changes required to systems.”

The news was immediately welcomed. Advantage chief executive John McEwan called it “eminently sensible” and Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer, who appeared before the committee, said: “A phased introduction would be more practical.”

The CAA is poised to release details of standard terms, Atol Certificates and arrangements for providing collective Atol cover as soon as the DfT makes an announcement – expected within days.

Tanzer told the committee: “Large numbers of our members will be coming into the scheme and there is a sense of disgruntlement at being invited to a party and left with the bill. But they recognise the value of Atol.”

Lowcost Travel Group chief executive Paul Evans appealed for a block on piecemeal reform, saying: “We do not have a level playing field and the changes are being introduced with undue haste.”

However, Tanzer, Tui Group general counsel Mike Bowers and Sunvil managing director Noel Josephides disagreed. Tanzer said: “The industry needs time to get in shape, but that is different to holding up the whole regime.”