Refund credit notes (RCNs) will continue to benefit from Atol protection until the end of September next year, the government and the Air Travel Trust (ATT) have confirmed – a 12-month extension to the scheme.
The validity period for firms to issue new RCNs has also been extended, and will apply indefinitely until further notice. The CAA said on Tuesday (27 April) the ATT would provide at least one month’s advance notice of the scheme coming to an end.
It means consumers whose package bookings are cancelled owing to the Covid crisis can accept a RCN – where suitable for them – in the knowledge they can exchange it for a cash refund at a later date.
Previously, newly issued RCNs would only carry Atol protection up to 30 September 2021.
Firms issuing new RCNs will be subject to the same conditions as they have previously, namely: RCNs must be issued for a cancelled Atol protected booking; the booking must have been cancelled by the tour operator due to the coronavirus pandemic; the refund credit note must be able to be exchanged for cash at a later date; and travel businesses are reminded that they must notify the ATT of any refund credit notes they issue and complete the required paperwork for them.
Earlier this month, Abta extended its deadline for issuing RCNs for non-flight packages through to the end of May "in recognition of the continuing impact of Covid-19 on the travel sector", although it did not extend the current 31 January 2022 expiry date.