ATOL-holders became liable for a £1 ATOL-Protection Contribution on every licensed sale from Tuesday, with the Civil Aviation Authority hitting back at claims the revamp is not understood.

The trade had failed to communicate concerns, said the CAA, despite the Association of ATOL Companies suggesting many businesses would “walk blindly” into the new scheme.

CAA consumer protection group director Richard Jackson said: “Nothing has come up to suggest the industry is ill-prepared. We had 800 companies appear for one-to-one interviews and the trade associations have consulted their members.

“Any business walking blindly into this seems to have been hiding.”

Deputy director David Moesli added: “I don’t recall any calls from the AAC or major AAC members in the run-up to introducing the APC.”

The AAC suggested some businesses may lack the financial reporting systems required. But Moesli said: “Reporting cash flow is critical, but equally important for ATOL-holders as businesses.”

The CAA revealed 144 ATOL holders failed to renew their licences by the March 31 deadline and a further 108 did not apply. It said the figures were in line with expectations.