The head of Abta’s membership committee has welcomed On The Beach’s move to offer full consumer financial protection.
Sunvil managing director Noel Josephides, chairman of the Abta membership committee, said: “It’s a move very much in the right direction. On The Beach is bringing more people into the structure of financial protection.”
On The Beach became the first independent online agent to offer full financial protection when it announced it had acquired an Atol licence for up to 300,000 holidaymakers a year and established trust arrangements approved by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Abta.
The financial protection applies across the board to bookings, including flight-only, accommodation-only and “Flight-Plus” sales. The move puts the company among the top 10 Atol licence-holders ahead of the expansion of the Atol scheme to retailers in January.
Abta board member Josephides chaired the committee which considered the On The Beach application for recognition of the arrangements. Josephides said: “The committee looked at it in detail and was happy and comfortable with it.
“I believe this will galvanise other people to take a similar route. More companies will want to have some sort of trust account. This could be a model for other large companies.”
However, he added: “You need to have the cash flow to cope. It is the larger companies that will be able to do this. I don’t think small companies could manage the degree of monitoring. It is a sophisticated system and not easy to implement.
The CAA declined to comment other than to confirm On The Beach now has an Atol licence for 300,000 passengers a year.