The Department of Transport issued a consultation paper last December about its "Proposals to Update the Regulatory Framework for Aviation". Chapter 13 contains new proposals for reforming the scope of the ATOL system.

These proposals include:

  1. A suggestion that all sales of "flight plus" would fall under the ATOL scheme. Note that the Government appears to be proposing that if you sell (whether as a principal or as an agent) flights and accommodation, car hire or some other significant element, you will need ATOL authorisation.
  2.  An idea that "click through" sales would be brought within the ATOL net, i.e. a passenger who bought an airline ticket from an airline website and accommodation from another website which he accessed via the airline website would enjoy ATOL protection.
  3. A choice between three options in relation to "flight only" sales one of which would abolish the "ticket provider" exemption.
  4. A description of a new "ATOL Certificate" to be issued to customers to confirm ATOL coverage.
  5. The possibility that firms would be able to provide financial security for non-air package holidays through the ATOL scheme.

At this stage, the proposals are just that. Much will depend upon the wording and shape of the new statute as and when Parliamentary time can be found.

If you want to have your say now, you need to make your submission to the Department for Transport before 11 March 2010.

The consultation paper can be found at: www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/open/regulatingairtransport