THE Civil Aviation Authority has said it is not
concerned about the lack of applicants for its new mini-ATOL, despite slashing
the application fee.

Nearly a month after launching the licence, which was
introduced to put an end to split contracting, the body has received just 70
applications out of a target of 500.

The CAA has halved the cost of applying
for a Small Business ATOL from £1,380 to £690. Deputy director of consumer
protection David Moesli said: “It’s nothing to do with trying to encourage more
people to apply. We are happy with the current amount.

“The reduction in price reflects the amount of work we
have to do when we receive an application. Applicants for the Small Business
ATOL don’t have to provide financial details, which takes up most of our time
in normal ATOL applications.”

Agents who have already applied and paid for the new
ATOL will receive a refund.

Moesli said the CAA was starting to contact all those
it believes need to apply for the ATOL and will begin to clamp down on agents
that refuse to comply by the end of the year.

He said: “We are working on who needs a licence. Some
people at the lower end have simply stopped operating, others have changed
their business practices and some are looking at the way they operate to see
whether they need to apply.”

Midconsort chief executive Charles Eftichiou welcomed
the price cut. “This will help  agents
on the borderline who were thinking of applying to make the final push,” he
said. “Some agents do need the new ATOL and the reduction will relieve the
financial burden.”