Abta hopes to unveil plans for a common Atol licensing scheme with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) within days.

The association has been in talks with the CAA for several months on ways to help smaller Abta members comply with the new Flight-Plus Atol regulations.

The Department for Transport announced the final shape of changes to extend Atol licensing to retailers on Thursday. Abta has previously said as many as 600 members may require an Atol for the first time following the reforms.

The association had hoped to become a CAA-accredited body, holding a licence on behalf of member companies. But this would have meant taking financial responsibility if businesses failed – a position Abta said would expose members’ money and was impossible for it to adopt.

Abta now proposes to establish a common licensing scheme in partnership with the CAA, removing the necessity for members to duplicate bonding.

Companies currently bond with Abta to provide financial protection in dealings between members, and businesses acquiring an Atol licence for the first time to comply with the Flight Plus regulations will also have to provide a bond or other financial guarantees for the first four years of licensing.

The Abta plan would remove the need for double bonding, replacing it with a requirement for a member to extend their existing bond with Abta. As well as costing less, this would remove the need to prepare additional financial statements and reduce administration costs.

Abta hopes to make a full announcement shortly. The CAA confirmed it is in talks with the association and said: “Abta is keen for it to happen. But nothing has been signed off yet.”