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Financial assessment

The financial criteria looks at a range of financial ratios. The extent of the financial assessment depends on the size or type of licence held or applied for, reflecting the level of risk posed to consumers and the ATT. Businesses must provide figures from their latest financial statements, which are used to calculate a number of ratios. The table below shows the ratios that are applied to ATOL holders and a more detailed explanation is provided in our policy note on financial criteria.

Ratio How is this calculated SBA Standard ATOLs and Franchises >1,000 passengers
Current ratio Current assets / current liabilities Yes Yes
Cash ratio Cash / current liabilities Yes Yes
Leverage ratio Total liabilities / total assets Yes Yes
Return on assets ratio Net profit / total assets Yes Yes
EBITDA margin ratio EBITDA / revenue No Yes
Revenue growth ratio Revenue/Prior year revenue No Yes
Revenue variance ratio Revenue/Projected revenue No Yes

Those ATOL holders with an ATOL limit in excess of £20m are subject to a more in-depth risk based approach as well as monthly monitoring. Please note that we also reserve the right to undertake a more in-depth analysis on those ATOL holders licensed for less than £20M in circumstances where we consider there may be a higher likelihood of failure or greater detriment to the consumer.

ATOL Self-Assessment tool (ASAT)

In advance of an application and to obtain an indication of whether their business’ financial statements may meet the financial criteria, ATOL holders may conduct a self-assessment of their finances against the new criteria by submitting their figures to our ATOL Self-Assessment Tool (ASAT).

Please access the ASAT and ensure that you read the accompanying guidance with the ASAT form to ensure that the correct information is provided.

Standard ASAT Guidance
SBA ASAT Guidance

Frequently asked questions

What is the financial assessment?

The financial assessment is more sophisticated than the previous free asset test. The extent of the financial assessment depends on the size and type of licence held or applied for, which reflects the level of risk posed to consumers. Businesses must provide figures from their latest financial statements, which are used to calculate a number of ratios, as outlined in our policy on financial criteria. These ratios will then provide the CAA with a score, which determines whether the business meets the financial criteria.

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What are the ratios?

The ratios are outlined in our policy on financial criteria and are assessed using figures from your financial statements. The explanation of the ratios in the policy note provides ATOL holders with an indication of how the ratios may be viewed positively by the assessment.

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Do I need to meet a minimum Paid Up Share Capital requirement?

All businesses applying for a new ATOL are required to have a minimum level of PUC of £30,000. However, existing ATOL holders with an SBA on 31 May 2016 will not normally be required to meet this requirement as long as they continue to hold an SBA.

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What financial statements do I need to provide for the assessment?

Full details of the financial statements required for ATOL holders are included within the policy on financial criteria.

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What figures are required for the assessment?

The figures from your financial statements need to be submitted on the Annual Accountants' Report, which must be signed off by an ATOL Reporting Accountant. The Annual Accountants' Report is published in Official Record Series 3.

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What do I do if I have a subordinated loan in place?

In order for subordinated loans currently in place to be treated favourably in the assessment, you should ensure that they are properly recorded and declared in your financial statements under long term loans. They should also be confirmed in the relevant section of the ASAT form or the Annual Accountants' Report.

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I am selling less than 500 passengers but my revenue is over £1m, which assessment am I subject to?

Small Business ATOLs are subject to a limit of 500 passengers and £1million revenue per year. SBAs must ensure that at any one time, the number of passengers booked to travel with them does not exceed 500 passengers and the revenue in respect of those passengers does not exceed £1m, irrespective of whether the bookings are in the current ATOL period or beyond.

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I hold a trade ATOL – how am I assessed?

Standalone Trade ATOLs are subject to the financial assessment in the same way as other standard ATOL holders.

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I hold a franchise ATOL – how am I assessed?

Franchise member ATOL holders with an ATOL limit of more than 1,000 passengers are subject to the financial assessment and required to provide financial statements in line with our policy on financial criteria.

Those franchise member ATOL holders with an ATOL limit of 1,000 or less are not usually be subject to any financial assessment by the CAA and are not therefore required to provide their financial statements to the CAA. However, the franchisee may conduct their own assessment, which members may be required to meet.

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I am an SBA but considering a full ATOL – how do I find out if I meet the standard ATOL test?

In advance of an application to renew or vary an ATOL, ATOL holders may conduct a self-assessment of their finances against the new criteria by submitting their figures to our ATOL Self-Assessment Tool.

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How are new applicants assessed under the financial criteria?

Existing businesses applying for a new ATOL will be assessed using figures from their latest financial statements. For start-up businesses, the assessment will be based on their projected financial statements, although these will be calibrated and sensitised to ensure that they are reasonable for the business. A minimum paid-up share capital of £30,000 will be required although a further cash improvement may be necessary.

Details of the financial information required from new applicants are listed in the new applicant application form.

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How can I find out if I meet the financial criteria?

In advance of an application to renew or vary an ATOL, ATOL holders may conduct a self-assessment of their finances against the new criteria by submitting their figures via our ATOL Self-Assessment Tool (ASAT) if they wish.

Once you have submitted the ASAT form, you should receive an e-mail within five working days confirming whether your business, based on the figures provided, has met the criteria or whether a financial improvement is required.

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What do I do if the ASAT result says my business does not meet the criteria?

If the ASAT result indicates that your business does not meet the financial criteria, you will be informed of the likely requirement in order to do so, which is normally the injection of cash. If you are concerned about your result, please request a telephone appointment to discuss your results by e-mailing atol.sat@caa.co.uk, using the subject “Results discussion”. However, please note that we will be unable to confirm exact requirements until we receive your Accountant's Annual Report signed by an ATOL Reporting Accountant, as part of the renewal.

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I haven’t received a reply to my ASAT submission yet?

We aim to provide a reply to your ASAT submission within 5 working days. If you are concerned, please e-mail atol.sat@caa.co.uk, using the subject “ASAT Follow-up”.

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When do I need to submit my figures for the renewal?

Your financial statements will normally be assessed as part of the renewal of your licence in either March or September. ATOL holders are invited to renew their licences a few months in advance of this and are encouraged to submit their application and financial statements as soon as possible after this to enable the assessment to be conducted and requirements to be met.

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How do I know if I meet the criteria?

Once we have received the Annual Accountant's Report and your finances have been assessed, you will receive confirmation from the CAA of whether or not your business meets the criteria.

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What happens if my business does not meet the criteria?

If your business does not meet the financial criteria, you will be informed of the requirement in order to do so, which is normally through an injection of cash. The CAA will discuss this requirement with you and will be sensitive to those who may have difficulty in initially meeting the new criteria.

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Has bonding changed under the new assessment?

The minimum bond for new applicants is £50,000 reducing over four years, i.e £50,000, £40,000, £30,000, and £20,000.

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What does an ARA do?

The ATOL Standard Terms require Accountants to complete reports on the ATOL holder's business. It is important that the CAA can rely on these reports therefore the ATOL Reporting Accountant Scheme was introduced to improve standards of reporting. The scheme provides the CAA with greater assurance in the reporting through improving accountants' understanding of the industry and the ATOL requirements. Accounting firms or individuals designated by CAA approved professional accounting bodies are called 'ATOL Reporting Accountants (ARAs)'.

The Annual Accountants' Report must be signed by an ATOL Reporting Account.

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