Air Travel Trust deficit highlights the need for change

Posted: 5 July 2011 | CAA | No comments yet

The Air Travel Trust has published its Annual Report and Financial Statements, reporting an increase in the deficit to £42.3 million…

Roger Mountford

The Air Travel Trust (“ATT”) has today published its Annual Report and Financial Statements for the year ended 31 March 2011, reporting an increase in the deficit to £42.3 million.

The report shows that the ATT received income of £47.7m during the year; substantially from ATOL Protection Contributions for 18.5m ATOL protected passengers.

The most significant impact on the Trust arose from the insolvency of Goldtrail Travel Limited, going into administration at the height of the 2010 summer holiday season. The circumstances around this failure are under investigation. This failure highlighted the poor standards of customer documentation issued by some in the travel industry; leading to unacceptable delays in refunds to holidaymakers.

The Trustees welcome the Government’s consultation on secondary legislation to introduce reform of ATOL from January next year. The report records that 29 ATOL holders failed during the year to 31 March 2011, and because of the ATOL scheme, over 47,000 ATOL protected passengers were to able to complete their holiday and around 146,000 received a refund of advance payments.

In parallel to the ATOL reform consultation, the ATT is considering amendments to its payment policy. This action follows on from changes made to the policy earlier this year, highlighting the importance of issuing customers with the correct documentation for their holidays. It is hoped the proposed revisions will provide even greater clarity to industry of the requirements and the documentation that should be issued to their customers.

The ATT Chairman, Roger Mountford, said:

“Despite the Trust facing an increase in its deficit, largely caused by the failure of Goldtrail Travel Limited, it has continued to meet its objective of providing refunds to customers affected by the failure of their ATOL holder. This past financial year has seen the Trust either repatriate or refund a record 193,000 UK holidaymakers. Government has published its consultation on reforming the scope of ATOL and bringing clarity to consumers, the trade and the ATT as to who is covered by the ATOL scheme. We look forward to a decision by the Government to proceed with a reform that is clearly in the public interest.”

ATT Report & Accounts, 31 March 2011 – key figures at a glance

  • £42.3m deficit of ATT at 31 March 2011
  • £10.5m increase in deficit
  • £47.7m income
  • 29 failures
  • £46.8m net cost of failures (that occurred in the year or during previous years)
  • 47,013 ATOL protected passengers repatriated
  • 145,809 ATOL protected passengers entitled to a refund
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