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Published on Friday, January 8, 2021

Grim outlook 'perversely helpful' as CAA ponders Refund Credit Note extension






The grim message that a national lockdown could last until March could benefit operators as the Civil Aviation Authority ponders further extending ATOL protection for refund credit notes.


ABTA said it is urging Air Travel Trustees to provide protection for RCN's issued until the end of March.


Late last month, the CAA extended ATOL protection, but only until the end of January. 


But with little sign of any immediate improvement to travel's prospects, the CAA will be asked to once again extend safeguards for RCNs. 


ABTA Director of Financial Services John de Vial revealed Air Travel Trustees are 'very concerned' at the situation, but added the government's pessimistic approach could, for once, be helpful for the industry.


"With all the messaging from government….it seems more and more likely that we'll need that RCN regime moved out beyond January," de Vial told an Elman Wall webinar. "So we have to put a lot of energy in with the Air Travel Trustees and the CAA so get them to review that again.


"We are going to continue to press them to extend that to the end of March and align that with ABTA's position on refund credit notes."


He continued: "The Air Travel Trustees are very concerned and I think their instincts have not been to extend on both occasions when they have previously.


"It is perversely helpful, the messaging noise now coming out of government, about the short term prospects. Hopefully that will weigh with the trustees. But we need to keep focused on that because it's a really critical issue."


The CAA extended ATOL protection for RCNs issued after December 31 with just eight days' notice, on December 23.


It had previously extended protection in October.  


De Vial added that he believed the CAA is becoming 'more and more concerned about prospects for some licence holders' following the loss of the winter season.


"And it looks more and more like April and early summer will be more effected than perhaps any of us would have clearly wished it to be," he said. 

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