The Travel Association (the Association of British Travel Agents) has launched an ABTA-ATOL Joint Administration Scheme to provide members with a simple and cost-effective process to comply with the new ATOL regulations. The scheme enables members to apply for an ATOL licence through ABTA with lower fees. Application packs for ABTA-ATOL JAS are being sent out to all ABTA members this week.
ABTA claims the scheme is ideal for smaller and medium-sized travel businesses and any ABTA member with an ATOL turnover of less than £1.5 million will be eligible to apply. ABTA members applying for an ATOL for the first time will be immediately eligible for the scheme, while ABTA members with an existing ATOL will be able to apply to opt-into the scheme from their next CAA renewal date in September 2012 or March 2013.
The scheme offers members the following benefits:
Reduced ATOL licensing fees: ABTA is not passing administration costs on to members and so is able to deliver significant cost savings versus applying for a licence directly from the CAA:
- ABTA’s ATOL licence fee will be £710 compared with £1,115 for a Small Business ATOL (SBA) and £1,890 for a Standard ATOL .
- This will deliver a saving of £405 compared to the cost of a SBA or £1,180 compared to the cost of a Standard ATOL, for the initial application, versus the CAA’s licence costs
- ABTA’s annual renewal fee will be £495 compared with £780 for a SBA renewal and £1,185 for a Standard ATOL renewal
- Over three years, participants will save up to £2,560 (compared with fees for a Standard ATOL) or £975 (compared with fees for a CAA SBA)
Flexibility: ABTA will not restrict holiday products sold by members, and will not add charges or compulsory fees for supplier failure insurance to members’ booking arrangements. The ABTA-ATOL JAS will also give members the flexibility to trade with up to £1.5 million in ATOL turnover, rather than be limited to 500 passengers under a SBA ATOL.
Time and Cost savings: ABTA will utilise its knowledge of the member to fast-track the ATOL application process and guide the member through it. The member will not be required to deal directly with the CAA. The work done by ABTA on behalf of the CAA delivers the reduced CAA fees to members, with no additional charges from ABTA.
A single point of contact: Members’ Financial Liaison Officers will manage the ATOL application process on their behalf.
In addition, ABTA is looking at a mechanism to hold a combined bond for both the ABTA and ATOL system requirements – and will provide a further update to members about this in due course.
John de Vial, ABTA Head of Financial Protection said: “The ABTA-ATOL Joint Administration Scheme represents a very significant member benefit for those drawn into the scope of the ATOL system for the first time. It reduces the cost and complexity of the licensing process, while leaving members with complete freedom to choose what products they sell and who they do business with.”
ABTA launched the scheme the day after publication of the UK Department of Transport’s final ATOL Regulations, which bring into force from 30th April the licensing of ‘Flight Plus’ holidays and outline a range of other measures including compulsory Agency Agreements and, from 1st October, ATOL Certificates.