The September renewal of Atols saw no surge in companies deserting the scheme in advance of imminent reforms to licensing.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) reported 100 companies failed to renew their Atols. Twice as many failed to renew in September 2008 and almost four times as many in September 2007.
By contrast, in April this year the CAA reported “the lowest [Atol-renewal] failure rate” it had seen.
About 60% of Atols come up for renewal in September and the rest in March.
The Midlands Co-operative Society was one of the 100 companies to let its Atol lapse. However, it switched to a new licence under the name Midlands Co-op Travel, following its merger with The Co-operative Travel and Thomas Cook last week.
Another 43 companies applied to renew licences but failed to do so by October 7 – including online retailers Opodo and Voyage Privé. Both are in the process of renewing Atols.
Opodo said it would renew next week. In the meantime, the private equity-owned agency is selling flights and accommodation under a third-party Atol agreement with lastminute.com. An Opodo spokeswoman said: “All bookings are on a third-party Atol and 100% protected.”
Voyage Privé confirmed it had removed its own holidays from sale and was selling product supplied by Atol-protected operators. Managing director John Bevan said: “We applied for a much bigger Atol – we are growing threefold year on year – so the CAA wanted further assurances. The Atol will be sorted this week.”
The CAA confirmed that firms on the late-renewal list “do not currently have an Atol licence” and “are not permitted to advertise or accept bookings or payments unless acting as an agent on behalf…of a disclosed Atol holder”.
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