More than 45% of travel companies that are due to renew their Atol licence this month are yet to apply.
Just 510 of the potential 1,127 businesses to renew have done so thus far. The deadline is September 30.
The Civil Aviation Authority, which runs the Atol scheme, is urging travel companies to submit their renewal applications “well before” the deadline “to avoid a delay to processing”.
The regulator says it “understands the issues the travel industry is facing” but stresses it “has a duty to protect consumers and make sure that it has complete and accurate financial information before processing a renewal”.
This includes asking for readily available additional information to provide an up-to-date picture of businesses’ financial position, the CAA said, warning: “Without this information there may be a delay in the renewal process”.
In March 2021, more than a quarter of companies due to renew their Atol licences applied in the last 10 days leading up to the renewal deadline, which the CAA said “created challenges for both the travel company and Civil Aviation Authority”.
The CAA also stressed that any conditions placed on licences during the renewal period are “reflective of the current licensing framework”. Potential future changes discussed in the ongoing Atol Reform consultation “have no bearing on current licensing decisions”, it made clear.
Michael Budge, head of Atol licensing at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said: “We would like to thank travel companies that have already submitted their application and supporting information for renewal in good time, as well as engaging with us throughout the process.
“We understand the challenges the travel industry is facing, but travel companies that have yet to submit their renewals are urged to do so as soon as possible.
“The earlier they submit, the more we can engage and support in the licence renewal process whilst acting in the best interest of consumers.
“We are mindful that applicants are looking for quick decisions, but reflective of the industry’s current financial challenges, things can take longer. Companies that apply late risk a delay in having their Atol licence processed.”