The CAA must avoid “paralysis by analysis” of Atol-holding travel companies, an industry adviser has warned.
“Those of you that have been dealing with the CAA in the last nine months can see that the CAA as a resource is very much stretched,” Chris Photi said at Tuesday’s Barclays Travel Industry State of the Nation – Part 1 (3 November).
“They are also very mindful of the state of the air travel trust because of Thomas Cook. It is not in good shape.
“In the September 2020 renewals, and to a lesser extent in March 2020 – one key aspect you might have had applied to you by the CAA is what they call in-house a circuit breaker.
“Some companies are having three or four of these in one licence year.
“I’ve often used this expression with regards to the CAA. They need to be careful of paralysis by analysis.
“If you’re a beleaguered head of finance or finance director or a CFO, having to continually engage with the CAA during these circuit breakers is very taxing, especially when there are other demands on your time with regards to liquidity, raising funding.
“The CAA’s desire is to retain control… and that’s what these circuit breakers are designed to do.
“They give you a limited period of licence and then require you to come back within a designated one month period, give them a complete update on your financials and your outlook, what you’ve been doing in relation to Covid-19, what your funding proposals are, et cetera.
“How they do it is by restricting the licence, even though you’re granted the licence for the full 12 month period.
“What they’re trying to do is to reduce the time period from what you sell freely – even place restrictions on what you can sell. In practical terms, they’re not difficult restrictions.
“The restriction is not to sell more than 50% of that given month as to what you sell in 2019.”
Photi said though that the CAA had taken a “pragmatic” view on additional debt funding, with the various government support mechanisms extended.