Agents have hit out at the Civil Aviation Authority for having to wait two weeks for Atol claim forms following Monarch’s failure.

Forms were finally made available to the trade this week – six days after direct-booking clients received them. A thousand direct customer claims have already been processed.

Agents said the delay hampered efforts to help clients reclaim money lost on Monarch bookings.

Jill Waite, director at Pole Travel, said: “It is ridiculous because it is still a generic form. They could have sent the form out two weeks ago and we could have filled it in. It makes us look like idiots.”

Julia Lo Bue-Said, managing director of The Advantage Travel Partnership, said: “It doesn’t feel right that the forms were sent out to direct customers first, even if the delay was due to a technical issue. This puts retailers at a disadvantage.

“If the CAA is to be the champion of consumer financial protection, they should have been prepared with all the necessary paperwork for the trade. It was not the first time the CAA has had to implement such a process.”

Speaking at this weekend’s Elite Travel Group Conference in Majorca, Sue Foxall, managing director of Kinver Travel, said: “This should have been simple but it’s been horrendous.”

Abta head of legal affairs Simon Bunce said the repatriation operation appeared to have “scuppered the nuts and bolts” of how the failure was dealt with.

He said: “The Atol claim forms should have worked like clockwork.”

The CAA blamed the delay on having to focus on its flying programme to repatriate 85,000 Monarch customers.

A spokesman said: “Our immediate priority was to bring those customers back to the UK but we want to reassure agents we are working round the clock to process claims.”

The authority said it took longer to secure details of agencies requiring forms. It warned larger agencies could take longer to deal with because of their requests to process claims through head offices.