An announcement about possibly extending the Refund Credit Note scheme is imminent, the CAA has said, but Abta’s financial protection chief has warned the delay risks RCNs being issued without strict adherence to the authority’s guidelines.
Head of licensing operations for Atol Michael Budge said trustees of the Air Travel Trust Fund would make an announcement “soon”. “I would hope it is during the course of the next week,” he said.
Speaking during Elman Wall’s Business and Finance autumn update webinar, Budge said:
“We have had to spend significant amounts of time liaising with government on this.
“At the moment there are various discussions with the Air Travel Trust Fund trustees about RCNs, we are looking for them to make a statement on that shortly.”
RCNs issued until 30 September were given Atol protection up to September 2021. Vouchers are either converted into cash or can be used to book a new package that also has Atol protection.
“RCNs were brought in as an option, rather than something that removes the need to refund,” Budge said.
Abta’s director of financial protection and financial services John de Vial said: “We are all keen to understand the position of the trustees. We are now into October; October holidays have been cancelled. There is a danger RCNs will be used not within the CAA guidance.”
Budge also addressed criticism the CAA had been silent during the pandemic, but said it had been working behind the scenes on issues like RCNs and the September Atol renewals.
“It is very easy to think the CAA has remained distant during the course of the pandemic, but there have been various challenges we have been trying to get to grips with,” he said.
Budge said next March’s Atol renewals, when Atol-holders’ accounts would reflect the pandemic, would not just take financial positions into account but would take a more holistic approach, as they had done in September.
“It’s not a case of looking at stellar results last year and the impact this year,” he said.