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Leading Atol holders project holiday numbers close to pre-Covid levels

Leading Atol holders have projected passenger numbers in the next 12 months close to the numbers they held licences for in October 2019 after a sharp reduction a year ago.

CAA figures for the Atols renewed at the end of September show Tui UK licensed to carry more than 5.1 million passengers in the 12 months to September 2022, up from 3.7 million a year ago and near to the group’s pre-Covid Atol figure of 5.5 million.

UK number-two Jet2holidays now holds a licence for 3.75 million package holidays, compared with just under 3.5 million a year ago and 3.9 million in 2019.

On the Beach has been more cautious, having been off sale for much of this year. The company will go into 2022 with an Atol for almost 1.34 million holidays, up from 1.22 million in October 2020 but down on the Atol for 1.65 million it held pre-Covid.

Fellow online travel agent We Love Holidays has barely changed its licence year on year, holding an Atol for just over one million package customers in the last two renewals compared with 1.37 million in 2019.

However, easyJet Holidays is licensed to sell up to 856,000 packages in the next 12 months, up from 547,000 at October 2020 and 794,000 at the same time in 2019.

Sister airline easyJet also holds an Atol, for an additional 180,000 holiday passengers.

Other major Atol-holders appear to have been more cautious.

British Airways Holidays is licensed to carry just under 644,000 passengers in the next 12 months, up from 598,000 a year ago but down on the more than one million it held an Atol for in October 2019.

Online giant Expedia now holds an Atol for just over 410,000 holidays, up from 317,000 in 2020 but less than half the licence for 874,000 it held pre-Covid.

The Switzerland-based BravoNext group, parent of Lastminute.com and Bravofly among other brands, is now the eighth-largest Atol holder with a licence for 410,000 passengers, similar to a year ago when it held an Atol for 433,000 but down from 640,000 in October 2019.

Southall Travel, with a licence for almost 249,000, and carrier easyJet complete the Atol top-10 following the September renewals.

The current top ten are licensed to carry 14,023,706 package holidays passengers between them. The top ten is made up of the same companies as this time last year, when they were covered to carry a combined 12,055,667. Last year’s total was a drop of more than five million collectively on 2019.

Beyond the top ten, Cyprus specialist Biblio Travel, which put its first programme on sale in July enters the list of top 20 Atol holders. Its parent BGAir Ltd is licensed to carry 173,756 passengers.

Another addition to the top 20 is the Thomas Cook Tourism online travel agency launched by Chinese conglomerate Fosun, which now has a licence for 145,920. When it was granted its initial licence last year, it was for 364 passengers.

Companies can vary their Atol numbers in the course of the licence period but not substantially without the scrutiny of the CAA, so these figures offer a guide to expectations for the next 12 months.

The CAA reported it granted 871 Atol licences by the September 30 renewal date, more than 300 fewer than in October 2019.

Of the 1,133 Atol licences due for renewal, 118 applications remain outstanding and 144 Atol holders chose not to renew.

The licensing process leaves 1,517 Atol holders, with 661 due to renew in March 2022.

CAA figures for Atols renewed at the end of September

PositionCompanyLicence size
1TUI UK Ltd5,122,443
2Jet2holidays Ltd3,750,000
3On the Beach Travel Limited1,336,601
4We Love Holidays Ltd1,065,400
5easyJet Holidays Ltd855,700
6British Airways Holidays Ltd643,745
7Expedia Group, Inc410,949
8BravoNext SA409,960
9Southall Travel Ltd248,800
10easyJet Airline Company Ltd180,108
11Gold Medal Travel Group Limited174,881
12BGAIR Travel Ltd173,756
13Trailfinders Ltd161,966
14Hays Tour Operating Ltd160,670
15Thomas Cook Tourism (UK) Company Limited145,920
16Virgin Holidays Ltd134,517
17Carnival PLC126,459
18Travel Republic Ltd116,535
19Marella Cruises Limited112,249
20Classic Package Holidays Ltd103,257

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