Published on Thursday, April 16, 2020

ABTA extends Refund Credit Notes' expiry date

ABTA has extended the expiry date for Refund Credit Notes to up to 2021, despite no official confirmation that these will be ATOL protected.

The trade association's initial guidance to members facing thousands of cancelled bookings due to the coronavirus pandemic was to issue Refund Credit Notes with an expiry date of no later than July 31.

However, it has since extended this to March 2021 for ATOL-holders who have renewed licences that expired at the end of last month.

For ATOL holders due to renew at the end of March who have not yet done so, the expiry date of RCNs should remain July 31, says ABTA. The deadline for March ATOL renewals has been extended by the CAA to April 28 due to the pandemic.

For those operators due to renew their ATOLs by September 30, the expiry date of the RCN should not extend beyond January 31, 2021, says ABTA.

ABTA has also clarified that RCNs should be issued within 14 days of the cancellation to comply with financial protection rules, however, the Civil Aviation Authority, which governs ATOLs, has not publicly confirmed RCNs will be protected regardless of when and how they are issued.

ABTA is pressing the Government via is Save Future Travel campaign to relax the Package Travel Regulations to give extend the 14-day refund window and confirm that RCNs will be financially protected but it has not yet done so - and the travel industry is facing a rival 'It's Right to Refund' campaign, which has attracted the backing of Thomas Cook's former CEO.

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