The Civil Aviation Authority has completed the September 2006 renewal of licensing travel organisers under the Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing (ATOL) scheme. Over 1500 travel organisers were due to renew their ATOLs at close of play on Wednesday 27 September and only 119 firms that had applied were not granted a licence on time. Andy Cohen, Head of ATOL Licensing at the CAA, said: “The September round is the larger of the two renewal periods and this was our largest ever renewal exercise. Of the firms which had applied to renew and provided supporting information, 98 per cent received decisions and 92 per cent renewed on time. We expect the majority of those who did not renew on time to complete by early October.
Andy Cohen added: “Each year a number of firms decide not to renew their licences and this is often seen as a crude measure of the strength of the overall air holiday market. For many of the companies who were not granted licences by the deadline, the business carried out under an ATOL either represents a small portion of their overall operation, or they have a limited season, so renewing on time is less critical.”
Although the upward trend in firms due to renew in September continued, with over 25 per cent more firms applying than two years ago, nine per cent decided not to renew, compared with four per cent in 2004 and 2005.
Andy Cohen commented: “Firms decide not to renew for a variety of reasons. On this occasion two-thirds were Small Business licence holders, which reflects the difficulties small start-up businesses experience at a time when trading conditions are particularly difficult. But overall, we found licence holders remained positive about the future. This optimism is reflected in the level of Licence authorisations for the coming year which for the majority of firms is broadly in line with last year.”
Source: Civil Aviation Authority UK
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