Agents and operators pull ATOLs

Agents and operators pull ATOLs

Travel agencies Miss Ellie’s World Travel and Holiday Express are among the companies that have pulled their individual ATOL licences this year.

Also among the list of 102 companies that have chosen not to renew their licences as of April 1 this year are bed bank Vacenza.com and tour operators Hidden Croatia and Upminster Travel.

Manchester-based Miss Ellie’s has not renewed its licence because it has joined the Freedom Travel Group and is now trading under its ATOL, while the Holiday Express agency brand was ditched by parent company Travelzest last November. The operation of its domain names holiday.co.uk and flight.co.uk now comes under the On Holiday Group.

Meanwhile, Vacenza.com managing director Jason Fry said the trade-only bed bank is to continue to only sell hotel product, which does not require an ATOL. Its sister consumer brand Alpha Rooms has an ATOL.

Tour operator Hidden Croatia no longer has its own ATOL as it is now operating under Holiday Options’ ATOL following a merger of the two businesses.

Upminster Travel - part of the Travel Club, which has bought bed bank Seligo - has not renewed its ATOL because the group’s brands previously traded under two ATOLs. Director Tony Freudmann said the group only required one ATOL. Parent company The Travel Club is on the list of 106 companies that have applied for ATOL renewal but have yet to be granted a licence.

The Civil Aviation Authority said the late renewal list “did not necessarily mean that the CAA has doubts as to the firm’s financial resources”.  In some cases the CAA has yet to decide on whether to grant a new ATOL or it has decided to grant the application from the date the company renews its bond and pays the licence fee.

On its website the CAA states: “Until the firms appearing on this list have renewed their licence, they are not permitted to advertise or accept bookings or payments unless they are acting as an agent on behalf, and with the authority, of a disclosed ATOL holder or are acting as a ticket provider.”

Also on this list of companies still awaiting an ATOL is agency Travelwise International.

Meanwhile, the Allbury Travel Group, parent company of Libra Holidays and Argo Holidays, has switched to become part of the £1 ATOL Payment Contribution, which came into effect on April 1 to largely replace the traditional bonding system.  Bonds have been retained for certain companies, particularly new businesses and those causing concern to the CAA.

Chairman Michael East said: "We have been taken off bonding and put into the £1 levy scheme, for which you have to have a strong balance sheet." Over the past 15 months the company has undergone a financial restructure, which has included capacity cuts, and attracted new private investors.


 

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