The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has delayed the Atol renewal deadline to April 28, as reported by Travel Weekly on Monday.

This is only the second time in the CAA’s history the Atol deadline has been extended after it was pushed back for the first time in October following the collapse of Thomas Cook.

Atol holders had been due to renew their licences by April 1.

An email communicating the move will be sent to all applicable Atol holders on March 31.

The CAA said it had made the decision “in light of the exceptional and unprecedented events due to Covid-19…to allow the industry and the CAA to to focus on overcoming unprecedented challenges and commit the resources necessary to provide support to consumers”.

Head of licensing operations Michael Budge said: “Given the exceptional and unprecedented circumstances we recognise that this is the right course of action and the decision has been taken that all ATOL licences expiring 31 March 2020 will now have their licence period extended until 28 April 2020.

“This allows Atol holders to focus on their customers and manage their own financial position. In addition, the UK Civil Aviation Authority has refocussed its resources to manage the issues arising from this complex situation.

“Extra time will enable industry to support customers in a highly challenging period of uncertainty and provide time to assess matters in order to meet the terms of their renewals. It will also give the UK Civil Aviation Authority the time to appropriately assess applications where we need to complete assessments.

“Extending the deadline is highly unusual, and we will keep this under review. We will also keep this decision under review as the situation develops and the potential impact is better understood. We would like to thank the industry for working with us.”

Earlier on Thursday it emerged the failure of Thomas Cook had left the back-up Air Travel Trust Fund almost exhausted and with “very little resources” to support another travel company failure.

The official report into the government’s response to the collapse of the travel giant showed the total exposure to the fund that covers Atol-protected passengers with repatriation and refunds will be £481 million.