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News: Travel businesses reluctant to renew ATOL licences

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Travel businesses that are due to renew their ATOL this month are being urged to submit their renewal applications well before September 30th to avoid a delay to processing.

More than 45 per cent (510 of the potential 1,127) of travel companies are yet to apply to renew their ATOL.

While the Civil Aviation Authority said it understands the issues the travel industry is facing, it has a duty to protect consumers and make sure that it has complete and accurate financial information before processing a renewal.

As the responsible regulator and in line with the previous renewal period, this includes asking for readily available additional information to provide an up-to-date picture of businesses’ financial position.

Without this information there may be a delay in the renewal process.

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While there has been speculation over recent weeks, any conditions placed on licences during the renewal period are reflective of the current licensing framework and the financial information provided.

The future changes discussed in the ATOL Reform consultation have no bearing on current licensing decisions. 

Michael Budge, head of ATOL licensing at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said: “We would like to thank travel companies that have already submitted their application and supporting information for renewal in good time, as well as engaging with us throughout the process.

“We understand the challenges the travel industry is facing, but travel companies that have yet to submit their renewals are urged to do so as soon as possible.

“The earlier they submit, the more we can engage and support in the licence renewal process whilst acting in the best interest of consumers.

“We are mindful that applicants are looking for quick decisions, but reflective of the industry’s current financial challenges, things can take longer.

“Companies that apply late risk a delay in having their ATOL licence processed.”

Over a quarter of applicants in March applied in the last ten days leading up to the renewal deadline, which created challenges for both the travel company and Civil Aviation Authority.

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