September Atol renewals could face delays as the CAA wrestles with a deluge of Covid-related work, according to a financial bonding specialist.
The industry regulator pushed back its usual 31 March deadline to 28 April to allow Atol holders to focus on helping clients after Covid-19 plunged the industry into chaos, with no word yet on whether the same will occur for September renewals.
Speaking during TTG’s latest Restart Travel seminar, Travel Trade Consultancy director Martin Alcock predicted that although he’d been told by the CAA renewals “definitely aren’t going to be extended”, logistical and staffing pressures could change the situation.
“They likely won’t extend or delay the renewal, and it would be very much a last resort or maybe a case-by-case thing, but these are unprecedented times,” he said.
March’s postponement meant some large Atol holders were given restrictions, which are being resolved with the CAA this summer - adding to the department’s workload, Alcock said.
“That’s taking up resource – and then on top of that, you have the September work where they’re trying to make licensing decisions based on the health and longevity of the business in a vacuum of information and nobody quite knows when things are going to get going again, so I really can’t see how they’re going to approach this.”
He suggested the CAA could look at shortening licensing periods or restricting the number of licensed passengers to reduce risk.
“I think that’s where we’ll end up,” he added.