regulations] to begin. It doesn’t matter. The customer has these rights from July 1.” However, Tanzer welcomed

the changes to the PTRs, insisting: “The big thing is that online travel sales – all these dynamic sales on websites which look like packages to consumers – come under the Package Travel Directive from July 1. That will bring a few million [more] holidays into the PTRs. That is good for consumers and good for the industry.” He acknowledged continuing uncertainty about aspects of the regulations – in particular, over interpretation of the new category of Linked Travel Arrangements (LTAs) – but said: “How you deal with things at the edges of this was always going to be difficult. “Whatever [the EU] came

up with, there was going to be some ambiguity. The directive was never intended to bring everything in. There may be cases where someone says something is not a package and a court says it is.” Yet he insisted: “Those who

have been selling dynamic packages are aware of the changes. Our agency members are very aware.” Tanzer added: “Most of

our members are packaging holidays or selling as agents.” He reported the association’s membership remains “stable” at about 1,200, but added: “We’ve seen big growth in managed branches operating under a single member’s number, so the number of entities operating under Abta membership has grown.”

Abta’s Travel Convention 2018 Date: October 8-10 Where: Seville Rates: ‘Early-bird’ registration rates available until the end of June

Tanzer confident a UK-EU flying deal ‘will be sorted’

Ian Taylor

Abta chief Mark Tanzer expects an aviation agreement to enable flights between the UK and EU from next April, but has warned: “At the moment, we wouldn’t be able to fly.”

Tanzer told Travel Weekly:

“We’ve been in this situation for two years now since the [Brexit] vote and the issues Abta put down before the referendum are still unresolved. “I’m confident things will be

sorted out, [but] we don’t want to get to the end of March next year and not know the [flying] arrangements from April. “As things stand, the [UK-EU]

withdrawal agreement depends on agreement on the Irish border and there isn’t an agreement. We wouldn’t be able to fly [from April]. “I don’t think that will happen. I

know a lot of work has been going on. I don’t think that technically or commercially it is a big issue. There is agreement from an

Abta ‘is working to bring pressure on interchange fees’

Abta is lobbying the Treasury for help in tackling interchange fees on card payments which have failed to fall in line with the abolition of card transaction fees. The EU Payment Services

Directive (PSD2) outlawed charges on consumers’ card payments from January, but the interchange fees banks charge retailers on credit card transactions can be 2%. Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “Agents are in the

62 7 June 2018

BREXIT: Abta says the issues it highlighted before the EU referendum are still unresolved

aviation point of view, but the politics are not lined up.” Tanzer noted the UK outbound

holiday market remains strong, saying: “Consumer spending has held up surprisingly well. The extent to which people are booking holidays despite the devaluation [of the pound] has exceeded my expectations.” But he said: “We need to make

sure customers feel similar confidence next March.” Abta also wants to see the

government’s Airline Insolvency Review make progress, with a

most-difficult position – 2% of the cost of a transaction can be 20% of their revenue [on a booking], and agents feared they would see more use of credit cards when there was no cost of using one. “The promise was that inter-

change fees would come down to cover the loss [of card transaction fees]. But they have not. That is a real hit to our members, particu- larly in the agency community. It’s a big part of their revenue. “We’re compiling evidence [to

show] to the Treasury. They are aware. We continue to work to bring pressure on interchange fees.” Tanzer said: “We’ve not packed up [on this].” However, he warned:

preliminary report promised this summer following the collapse of Monarch last October. Tanzer said: “The current

[insolvency] situation is unsatisfactory. Either the government should tell people that if they fly with a scheduled airline they don’t have repatriation protection or tell people ‘We will bring you home’ and arrange a fund for repatriation.” He said: “I hope the review

comes up with something before the summer – and before we have another airline failure.”

CARD COSTS: Agents are still facing high interchange fees

“Once we’ve made the case, I can’t see anything happening in the short term with everything else going on with the government.”

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