The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has confirmed the renewal of 554 Atols of the 742 licences which expired on March 31.

Another 89 Atol holders remain in the process of having licences renewed by the CAA, meaning 99 Atols were allowed to expire.

The CAA confirmed 99 Atol holders did not apply to renew their licences, 13% of those up for renewal and almost double the rate of 12 months ago.

The proportion of Atols still awaiting renewal (12%) was also double the rate of the March 2020 renewal. However, the CAA said half of these licence holders (44) had submitted their applications within the last 10 business days of March.

The renewals left the total number of Atol holders at 1,662.

CAA head of Atol licensing Michael Budge said “We would like to thank those travel companies that submitted their application and supporting information for renewal in good time as well as engaging constructively with us regarding licensing requirements.”

Budge acknowledged: “We have continued to focus on ensuring the appropriate protection of advance customer monies and requiring Atol holders to maintain adequate liquidity to meet future obligations. Where appropriate, certain conditions were required to meet these obligations.”

He did not go into detail on the conditions required but the CAA has toughened its financial requirements in light of the Covid-19 crisis and volume of refund credit notes Atol holders have issued for cancelled bookings.

Atol licences date either from April 1 or October 1, with a majority of licences renewed in September.

In a statement, the CAA advised travel businesses due to renew their Atol licence in September “to apply in good time”.