The Civil Aviation Authority has apologised for the length of time being taken to handle Thomas Cook refunds.
The aviation regulator confirmed that around 10,000 claims remain outstanding but insisted that it had a dedicated team working on the process “as a matter of urgency”.
The CAA also disclosed that it had not received claims for “thousands” of forward bookings with Thomas Cook, which collapsed under a mountain of debt in September.
Chief executive Richard Moriarty said: “We acknowledge that it has taken longer than we had hoped to make payments to the remaining consumers.”
All refunds should have been paid within 60 days from when the refund application process opened on October 7.
The CAA said that more than 95% of all claims received to date had been settled – up from 90% on December 24.
The updated figure equates to 320,000 claims settled at a value of more than £310 million in Atol payments – the largest amount paid out by the scheme since its creation in the 1970s.
“In addition to the 320,000 claims already settled, there are approximately 10,000 claims remaining and these are being processed as a matter of urgency,” the authority said.
“In most cases, these claims have taken longer to process because the details entered online do not exactly match Thomas Cook’s booking records, in some cases due to Thomas Cook’s incomplete or inaccurate data, making it more difficult for the claims team to identify bookings as quickly as we would like.
“We have a dedicated team working through the remaining claims in order to support consumers and process Atol payments as quickly as possible.
“There are also thousands of forward bookings with Thomas Cook that we have not yet received claims for, and we encourage anyone who has not yet opened a claim to do so as soon as possible so that we can process all claims within the timescales available to us.”
Moriarty added: “While more than 95% of people who have made a claim have now received their Atol payments, we are sorry that some are yet to receive payment.
“We are continuing to work through this enormous operation as quickly as we can as we understand that customers who have seen their future holidays cancelled will want to receive payment as soon as possible.
“We acknowledge that it has taken longer than we had hoped to make payments to the remaining consumers.
“We have a dedicated team working to process the most complex cases that need additional support and all consumers with outstanding claims should hear from us by the end of this week to receive an update on their claim and any next steps required.
“If we request further information, we would encourage consumers them to respond as quickly as possible as we cannot process any payments until this information has been received.”
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