The CAA has extended all Atols due to expire at the end of September until late October to give the authority, and existing Atol holders, more time to deal with the fallout from the collapse of Thomas Cook.
Atols are renewed on a biannual basis at the end of March and September, and are issued on 1 April or 1 October. Atol holders, or prospective applicants, have until 30 March and 30 September to apply.
However, the CAA has said any Atols due to expire at the end of the month will remain valid until 25 October, although September renewing Atol holders must still get their applications in by 30 September for the extension to apply.
The CAA is coordinating the repatriation effort for Cook passengers stranded overseas following the operator’s collapse on Monday (23 September).
It said its decision to offer the extension was to “enable Atol holders affected by the failure and the CAA to focus resources on looking after Thomas Cook Group customers”.
Michael Budge, head of licensing operations for Atol, said: “Given the exceptional circumstances and redistribution of our internal resources at the UK Civil Aviation Authority to support the repatriation effort, we have taken the exceptional decision that all licences that have yet to be granted will now have the licence period extended until 25 October 2019.
“Extra time will enable industry to have additional time to support customers in a difficult period and give them the space and time to get things together to meet the terms of their renewals. It will also give the UK Civil Aviation Authority the time to appropriately assess applications where we need to complete assessments.
“Extending the deadline is possible within our regulations but it is unprecedented and reflects the exceptional circumstances that we find ourselves in. We would like to thank the industry for working with us and ask them to bear with us.”