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The Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing Bill is a government bill which completed its passage through the House of Commons on 11 July 2017. The Bill had its first reading in the House of Lords the next day, 12 July 2017, and is scheduled to receive its second reading on 5 September 2017.

The Bill seeks to update the Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (ATOL) scheme, a statutory licensing system introduced in 1973 designed to provide a measure of reassurance and financial protection to consumers booking holiday packages that include a flight. The Government has stated that the proposals in the Bill would allow for UK businesses to trade across Europe more easily; ensure a wider body of consumers are protected; and provide an ability for the ATOL scheme to adapt to future trends, including changes that may arise as a result of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

The changes are being sought in advance of the coming into effect of an updated European directive relating to package travel (2015/2302/EU) which will extend insolvency protection arrangements in EU member states beyond traditional package holidays to include other forms of combined travel.

The Bill received cross-party support during its passage through the House of Commons, though a number of amendments were proposed relating to concerns held by opposition parties regarding the impact of changes; powers within the Bill; and guarantees for existing consumer protections following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

This briefing should be read in should be read in conjunction with the Explanatory Notes to the Bill, produced by the Department for Transport.

The House of Commons Library briefing Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing Bill (27 June 2017) provides further background information on the Bill and its provisions. That briefing also includes summaries of relevant proceedings in the House of Commons in the last parliament on the Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill, which included the three main clauses that make up the Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing Bill.


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