Fewer than 1,000 Atols renewed in September amid ‘huge pressure’ on sector

Less than 1,000 of the 1,261 Atol licences that expired on September 30 have been renewed during a period of “huge pressure” on the travel sector, the Civil Aviation Authority revealed today.

The regulator said that 995 have been renewed in the September round with a further 90 still in the process as of October 1.

A total of 176 travel companies did not apply for renewal against 51 this time last year and 117 in 2018.

This means that there are now 1,732 Atol holders overall.

Long-standing Bristol-based agency Thornton’s Travel was the latest Atol company failure after Gendai Travel, Cities Direct, STA Travel and Harris Holidays since early August.

The CAA said: “Travel businesses that were not due to renew their Atol licence during this renewals period should apply in good time before the 31 March 2021 expiry date.

“If a business decides not to renew their licence, this can be for a variety of reasons including making changes to their business model, which means they no longer need an Atol licence to continue trading.”

The regulator added: “UK Civil Aviation Authority keeps its regulatory models under review, including how we manage the Atol financial protection scheme.

“In light of recent events, we are considering how we can work with the industry to improve financial resilience for the benefit of both consumers and travel businesses.

“As ever, we would consult stakeholders on any potential proposals.”

CAA head of Atol licensing Michael Budge said: “We understand the huge pressure that travel businesses are under at this time and would like to thank them for positively engaging with us to meet the required conditions for their Atol renewal.

“In the interest of protecting consumers, we continuously engage with and closely monitor Atol holders throughout the period covered by their licence, requesting further information where necessary.”

The deadline for the 2019 Atol renewals period was extended to October 25 following the Thomas Cook collapse.

ATOL Licences as of 30 September 2018ATOL Licences as of 25 October 2019ATOL Licences as of 30 September 2020
Did not apply 2018Did not apply 2019Did not apply 2020
Granted 2018Granted 2019Granted 2020
Applied but not yet renewed – 1 October 2018Applied but not yet renewed – 26 October 2019Applied but not yet renewed – 1 October 2020

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