Global travel credit specialists and UK market leader International Passenger Protection Ltd (IPP) have highlighted to new Flight Plus license holders that they will be liable for the financial collapse of any suppliers they sell such as Airlines, Hotels, Car Hire Companies, Rail journeys, Amusement parks, Ferries etc.
“Flight Plus presents a fresh direction in giving some form of clearer consumer protection, however we are seeing many agents still not grasping the actual liabilities they could face, no different to existing ATOL holders with agents still convinced that their ATOL covers the collapse of not only them but anything they sell”
“ATOL will only cover the collapse of anything the agent sells if the agent themselves collapses at the same time, otherwise the agent is always responsible for anything they sell which financially collapses which is part of a flight package” continued Mclean.
However IPP’s concern continued with the fact that the new ATOL certificate will only be issued to the public if they buy an ATOL holiday. “This seems to defeat the ultimate objective of an informative sale for all people purchasing travel, it’s a shame the certificate could not have gone a step further to clarify a trip not being protected so consumers can make an informed choice on their purchase and if they wish to protect or not.”
The warning comes as the 8th collapse in a matter of weeks with Air Australia leaving thousands stranded abroad, and with at least one airline collapsing each week in the last four weeks. “Collapses are not just stretching to Airlines, we have seen companies such as Sea Ferries and Hotels collapse or currently in dire financial strain” commented IPP’s Director Paul Mclean.
Protecting agents exposures can be simply covered with an annual policy covering scheduled flights and or end suppliers for very little costs per passenger. But IPP pointed out that agents should ensure they only take out insurance with Insurers whom are UK registered and members of the FSA and it would be prudent for them to check out the credentials of the Insurer providing the cover.
With the eurozone crisis, rising fuel costs and an increased tax burden, IATA forecast Europe’s airlines would lose at the best $600 million this year. The recent collapse of long established caries such as Malev and Spanair demonstrated how even governments are willing to let a state supported airline wither away. Numerous governments have shown their reluctance to continue support national carriers by seeking new investors such as Malev, LOT, SAS, TAP, and CSA Czech Airlines. This does not mean these carriers are at risk necessarily but investment from the banks is simply not there anymore which the whole industry depends on not just airlines.