The Civil Aviation Authority has granted 594 Atol licences by its March 31 renewal date, with a further 31 in the process of being renewed.
The regulator confirmed that 675 Atol licences expired on March 31, and 50 businesses (7%) did not apply for renewal. The proportion that have renewed so far is 88%.
This time last year, there were 742 licences up for renewal and 99 businesses did not apply. A total of 554 had been renewed at the end of March 2021, with a further 89 businesses having applied but not renewed by the deadline.
The completed licensing process leaves 1,618 Atol holders in total, with 1,025 due to renew in September 2022.
The CAA also reported that 123 (18%) businesses applied in the 14 days leading up to the March 31 deadline.
It again urged travel firms that are due to renew in September 2022 to apply in good time before the September 30 deadline “because of the time required for the Civil Aviation Authority to analyse and process applications, and for applicants to put any required conditions in place”.
It added: “Businesses that fail to allow reasonable time to apply and meet required conditions by the deadline risk being unable to take Atol-protected bookings.”
More: CAA upbeat ahead of March Atol renewal deadline
Michael Budge, the CAA’s head of Atol licensing, said: “We would like to thank those travel companies that submitted their applications and supporting information for renewal in good time and working with us throughout the process.
“The Civil Aviation Authority has continued to apply the current Atol framework when processing these latest renewals.
“In the interest of protecting consumers, it is right for us to continuously engage and closely monitor Atol holders to help keep customers financially safe when travelling.”
Atol licences date either from April 1 or October 1, with a majority of licences renewed in September.
Tim Robinson, director at consulting firm RSM UK, commented: “The latest Atol renewal figures show a high renewal rate of 88%. This is up from the 77% renewal rate in September 2021.
“This is encouraging news for the sector, as it suggests businesses are beginning to benefit from the improved levels of certainty they now have as a result of Covid restrictions being lifted in the UK.
“However, the number of licences granted is down 16% when compared with pre-pandemic levels, highlighting the impact Covid-19 has had on the sector.
“Challenges for the travel industry continue, largely due to staffing constraints, coupled with inconsistent Covid requirements in some travel destinations overseas.”
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