Abta hailed government confirmation of Flight-Plus Atol licensing today as “a major step forward in improving outdated holiday protection”. But the association said bringing in holiday sales by airlines remains vital.

The association welcomed the inclusion of Flight Plus holidays in the Atol scheme and confirmation that the introduction of Atol Certificates will be put back to October 1, a move Abta has argued hard for. 

Abta also welcomed confirmation that microbusinesses – with 10 or fewer employees – will be included in the scheme, and said it is pleased by the government’s recognition “that the system will remain confusing if holidays sold by airlines are not brought in”.

Chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “Abta has long called for reform of the Atol scheme. We believe all holidays, however booked, should be financially protected. 

“The package of reforms announced today mark a significant first step to improving a system that is outdated, unfair and confusing. We consider the inclusion of holidays sold by airlines an essential second step.

“While we are pleased the government acknowledged the need to include these, we urge them to act swiftly to introduce the necessary legislation to make this happen.” 

Flight-Plus licensing will commence from April 30, but a new Atol Certificate for consumers will not be introduced until October 1 to give businesses time to get systems in place. 

Abta said: “The administrative demands of the reforms on travel businesses are considerable so a phased approach makes sense.”

The association has published summary guidance for members at abta.com/atolreform: where we are now

It will publish full written guidance on the reforms and how members need to prepare.