Refund Credit Note clarification expected ‘next week’

Confirmation of whether Refund Credit Notes issued after September 30 will continue to have Atol backing should come next week, according to industry regulator the CAA.

Michael Budge, head of licencing operations for Atol, told an Elman Wall update on Tuesday that the hold-up is with the trustees of the Air Travel Trust that backs the protection scheme.

Refund Credit Notes were brought in as an alternative to cash refunds during the Covid-19 pandemic but Atol protection in the event of company failure was granted only to those issued up to September 30.

A decision on whether that will be extended to cover those issued after that date has been expected.

Budge said: “At the moment those discussions are happening with the ATT trustees in relation to the current state of play.

“The trustees are keeping that under review and we are looking for them to be making a statement shortly.”

Pressed on when a statement might be released, Budge said: “We hope during the course of next week.”

John de Vial, Abta director of financial protection and financial services, said it was important for travel firms to have a decision soon.

“We are all keen to understand the position of the Air Travel Trustees,” he said. “I can see the difficulty for the CAA.

“But we are into October and because of government restrictions October holidays are being cancelled and members are not able to manage refunds fully.

“There is a danger, otherwise, that refunds will be issued not within CAA guidance. It’s not in anyone’s interests for anyone to have paper that is not recognised.”

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