The UK Civil Aviation Authority understands that the spread of Covid-19 is concerning for the industry and in response has taken the exceptional decision to extend the ATOLs of all ATOL holders that have applied to renew their ATOLs on 1 April 2020 to 28 April 2020. This decision to extend licences comes into effect on 31 March 2020, and an email communicating this decision will be sent out to all applicable ATOL holders on that date.

 

The UK CAA took the similar decision to extend the ATOL renewals deadline after Thomas Cook ceased trading last year, with the aim of enabling ATOL holders affected and the UK CAA to focus resources on looking after affected consumers. In light of the exceptional and unprecedented events due to Covid-19, this decision has been made to allow industry and the UK CAA to use this time to focus on overcoming unprecedented challenges and commit the resources necessary to provide support to consumers.

 

The UK CAA is acutely aware that the situation is changing at a fast pace, and so the ability for ATOL holders to meet the information requirements by the licensing deadline in the current environment will be kept under review.  To this end, the UK CAA will maintain contact with all ATOL holders in April whose licence would have ordinarily expired at the end of March.

 

If a March renewing ATOL holder has not yet submitted its renewal application, it must do so by 31 March for the above to apply, otherwise their ATOL will lapse. If an ATOL holder has told the UK CAA that it does not intend to renew its ATOL then this decision does not apply to that ATOL holder. 

 

Commenting, Michael Budge, Head of Licensing Operations for ATOL, said:

 

“Given the exceptional and unprecedented circumstances we recognise that this is the right course of action and the decision has been taken that all ATOL licences expiring 31 March 2020 will now have their licence period extended until 28 April 2020. This allows ATOL holders to focus on their customers and manage their own financial position. In addition, the UK Civil Aviation Authority has refocussed its resources to manage the issues arising from this complex situation.

 

“Extra time will enable industry to support customers in a highly challenging period of uncertainty and provide time to assess matters in order 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 highly unusual, and we will keep this under review. We will also keep this decision under review as the situation develops and the potential impact is better understood. We would like to thank the industry for working with us.”

Notes to editors:

The decision to extend licences until 28 April was taken pursuant to Regulation 38 of the Civil Aviation (Air Travel Organisers' Licensing) Regulations 2012, as amended.