Officials at the UK Civil Aviation Authority have cleared a backlog of ATOL licence applications which accumulated after the collapse of Thomas Cook.
The body took what it called an “exceptional decision” to extend the licences of all ATOL holders that had applied for a new licence by the start of October, but had not received a decision.
As of today, the CAA confirmed that of the 1,283 applications that originally expired on September 30th, 1,182 have now been granted.
This extension was to enable ATOL holders affected by the failure of the Thomas Cook Group and the UK Civil Aviation Authority to focus resources on looking after customers, as well as due consideration of the ATOL holders applying for a renewal.
Some ATOL holders’ applications had already been processed, however 344 ATOL holders had their licences extended to this date.
Under normal conditions, ATOL holders that submitted their applications later than recommended would not benefit from an extension to their licence.
Following our advice during previous renewals periods, many ATOL holders applied to renew their ATOL early, ensuring all necessary information was available at the time of submission.
Despite the extension to the ATOL renewals process, the deadline for submissions remained at September 30th.
Michael Budge, head of ATOL licensing operations for the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said: “We would like to thank the travel industry for their support during this time.
“Given the unique circumstances, we have used this extension to process the outstanding applications and give due consideration to all ATOL holders submitting their renewal applications.
“Our online renewal system also allowed us to efficiently approve applications from smaller companies even while we completed the two-week repatriation programme.
“The circumstances surrounding the failure of Thomas Cook highlight the need to continue to focus on ensuring the appropriate protection of advance customer monies as well as ATOL holders maintaining adequate liquidity, sufficient to meet future obligations.”
He added: “It is important that ATOL holders continue to work closely with the UK Civil Aviation Authority’s ATOL team, so that we can provide support where possible for the benefit of both the travel industry and consumers.”