A new, more stringent application process is thought to be behind a fall in the number of Atol renewals completed on time this September.
More than 100 Atol applications were still awaiting renewal by the CAA’s September 30 deadline – up more than a quarter on last year.
“They [the CAA] were asking a lot more questions this year and were being very tough,” said Alan Bowen, legal advisor to the Association of Atol Companies.
In total, 107 of the 1,296 applications were outstanding on Monday (October 1), up from 84 the previous year (+27%).
The CAA said that of these 107 applications, 63 were received during the last week of September.
However, while the CAA stressed the 107 figure was “broadly in line” with last year, Bowen told TTG the normal outstanding figure was “about 60”.
He added: “It may well be some smaller Atol holders have thought it’s becoming so complicated they will buy seats from someone else.”
After TTG reported teething problems with the new online Atol renewal system last month, the CAA took a bullish stance, urging Atol holders to ensure their applications were completed accurately and promptly. It also warned it would not offer extensions to those who failed to submit applications in time.
Of the new online system, Aito chairman Derek Moore said: “I’ve had nobody ring up with problems; I’ve not heard anything better or worse.”
Other experts previously told TTG that although there had been issues during the September renewal window, once the system is bedded in, it would be a positive step for the renewal process.
Michael Budge, the CAA’s Atol spokesperson, added: “We are pleased with the overall performance of the new Atol online system, which in many cases allowed us to achieve a turnaround of less than 48 hours from receipt of the fully completed application to issue of the offer letter.”