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LEGAL IAN SKUSE


When is business travel not a ‘package’?


The definition of package travel has changed, with exemption for business travel, but clarification is needed


OLLOWING GDPR, the next regulations on the tracks are the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018, and The Civil Aviation (Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing) (Amendment) Regulations 2018. A significant change being swept through is the exemption of business travel under the new package classification. In summary, business travel does not fall within the definition of “package” if the travel is booked by the corporate employer and a business travel specialist under a framework contract. However, business travel can be excluded only where general or framework agreements are in place. Most TMCs will have agreements with clients, and, in most cases, these are likely to exclude those arrangements from a “package”. For any TMC or corporate client without adequate contractual provision in place, there is a risk business travel sales could fall under the scope of “packages” requiring compliance and possibly bonding. However, we are awaiting clarification – and Guidance Notes.


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Ian Skuse is a partner in Blake Morgan’s Aviation team (blakemorgan. co.uk) and is based in the London office. Ian was a partner with Piper Smith Watton LLP, which merged with Blake Morgan LLP in 2015


NEW DEFINITIONS The new definition of a “package” means a combination of at least two different types of travel services, if: a) those services are combined by one trader, including at the request of, or in accordance with, the selection of the traveller, before a single contract on all services is concluded; or


b) those services are – (i) purchased from a single point


BUYINGBUSINESSTRAVEL.COM


of sale and selected before the traveller agrees to pay; (ii) offered, sold or charged at an inclusive or total price; (iii) advertised or sold under the term “package” or under a similar term; (iv) combined after the conclusion of a contract by which a trader entitles the traveller to choose among a selection of different types of travel services, or (v) purchased from separate traders through linked online booking processes where – (aa) the traveller’s name, payment details and email address are transmitted from the trader with whom the first contract is concluded to another trader or traders, and (bb) a contract with the latter trader or traders is concluded at the latest 24 hours after the confirmation of the booking or the first travel service. This definition applies irrespective of whether the traveller concludes separate contracts with one or more travel service providers.


BUSINESS EXCLUSION Clause 3(2) of the Regulations states they do not apply to “packages and Linked Travel Arrangements purchased on the basis of a general agreement”. “A general agreement” means an agreement which is concluded between a trader and another person acting for a trade, business, craft or profession, for the purpose of booking travel arrangements in connection with that trade, business, craft or profession.


AN ACCEPTABLE FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT


Until the Guidance Notes are produced, there is doubt about what these agreements need to cover. Once published, TMCs will need to check contracts comply.


NEW ATOL REGULATIONS New ATOL Regulations came out in June. There is a specific exemption to the requirement for ATOL needed to sell packages and Linked Travel Arrangements for “a person who is making available flight and accommodation under and in accordance with the terms of a general business travel agreement”. The CAA may publish terms to be included in such an agreement for these purposes. A “general business travel agreement” means “an agreement which is concluded between a trader and another person, for the purpose of booking travel arrangements in connection with that other person’s trade, business, craft or profession”. The traveller will need to be advised that the protections of the new ATOL Regulations will not apply. A further exemption relates to the sale of an air ticket, when payment is made in full and which is not part of a package.


RECOMMENDATIONS Once the Guidance Notes are out, there should be a further review of contracts to ensure compliance.


BBT July/August 2018 101


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