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Green shoots of recovery for travel sector as ATOL license renewals increase

06 April 2022

Tim Robinson, director at RSM UK, responds to the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) statement on ATOL renewals for Spring 2022: ‘The latest ATOL renewal figures show a high renewal rate of 88 per cent, with 594 out of 675 expired licenses being renewed by the 31 March 2022 deadline. This is up from the 77 per cent renewal rate in September 2021 and 75 per cent in March 2021.

‘This is encouraging news for the sector, as it suggests businesses are beginning to benefit from the improved levels of certainty they now have as a result of Covid restrictions being lifted in the UK. In addition, the removal of passenger locator forms ahead of the ATOL renewal deadline will have given businesses a better ability to demonstrate the reliability of forecasting data – as part of the renewal process.

‘However, the number of licenses granted is down 16 per cent when compared with pre-pandemic levels – highlighting the impact Covid-19 has had on the sector. With the number of outright holders of licenses decreasing, this presents an opportunity to those renewing now.

‘Whilst the UK is now fully open for international arrivals, which is undoubtedly a huge relief for the sector, it is not completely out of the dark yet. Challenges for the travel industry continue, including significant staffing constraints and inconsistent Covid-19 restrictions remaining in some travel destinations.’