Abta is calling for the aviation regulator to clarify £25.6 million in costs incurred on contingency planning last year.
The amount went on a ‘shadow airline’ arranged by the Civil Aviation Authority to potentially repatriate passengers if Monarch Airlines failed last year, as reported by Travel Weekly.
The figure, two-and-a-half times the £10 million reported in the media at the time, features in the Air Travel Trust’s annual report.
The ATT, which backs Atol via contributions from package holidaymakers and is £145 million in the black, spent nothing on contingency plans the previous financial year.
The CAA leased aircraft last October as it feared if Monarch was unable to meet financial requirements to renew its Atol, 180,000 passengers would be stranded abroad.
The ATT would not detail what the £25.6 million was spent on but said it “ensured the CAA was sufficiently prepared to manage a potential Atol-holder failure”.
Abta said: “We understand from reviewing the Air Travel Trust’s published accounts that during their last financial year £25.6m was spent on contingency planning.
“Given the scale of this cost, particularly in relation to the size of the overall Air Travel Trust Fund, Abta will be writing to the CAA, on behalf of Atol-licensed members.
“We will ask for clarification about the nature of these costs, whether the CAA anticipates similar costs being incurred in the future and, if so, how the ATTF will be protected against such costs.”
A CAA spokesman told Travel Weekly: “Any big failure would involve securing multiple aircraft and providing extensive customer communications across a number of channels.”
He added all expenditure “is taken extremely seriously”.
Monarch secured a £165 million refinancing by owners Greybull Capital on October 12 after being granted an extension to renew its Atol.