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CAA says 57 Atol holders were late to apply to renew

Juliet Dennis

A hundred travel firms have either not renewed their Atol licence or are yet to receive it because they applied too late, the Civil Aviation Authority has revealed.

Of companies licensed until the end of March, 57 were late in applying to renew, while 43 chose not to renew or had their licence revoked. The figures are an improvement on April 2018 when 69 Atol- holders did not apply and 71 did not renew in time for the deadline. With some applications, the CAA has either yet to reach a decision or requires more information before granting a licence. Until firms receive their licence,

they cannot advertise or accept bookings or payments unless they are acting as an agent on behalf of an Atol-holder or as an airline ticket agent. In total, 688 of 797 Atols

that expired on March 31 were renewed this week. Despite continued pleas by

the regulator encouraging firms to apply early to renew their licence, 120 Atol-holders applied in the last week of March. The CAA will be issuing a

survey to stakeholders in the next two weeks calling for additional feedback “to consider any future enhancements” to its online application process which was introduced last year. A CAA spokesman said: “We continue to encourage people to apply to renew early to ensure they have everything in place on time.” The full list of Atol-holders had

yet to be released by the CAA as Travel Weekly went to press.

The CAA also said On the Beach

Travel had been approved as an Accredited Body, making it the eighth travel business to be granted the status by the Air Travel Trust. The company’s On the Beach and brands will trade under its Atol licence instead of holding individual licences.


MSC boss announced fares would include gratuities at the launch of MSC Bellissima


MSC delays fares including charges

Harry Kemble

MSC Cruises has delayed plans to include service charges in fares for UK and Irish passengers.

The line had hoped to introduce the pricing policy this week but said it was still working on an implementation plan and would update agents and passengers “over the next few weeks”. Currently, daily gratuities are

automatically added to passengers’ onboard accounts. Passengers can remove the optional charge, which varies according to the itinerary. During the launch of new ship

MSC Bellissima last month, Antonio Paradiso, the line’s managing director for the UK and Ireland, said he was working on including service charges for customers in the UK market from April 2. Paradiso said: “We plan to make this change as soon as possible and are currently working on implementing [this] so that the change causes as little disruption as possible.” He said the decision to include

service charges was based on feedback from agents and

passengers, and would further “simplify the booking process”. “We will share [more] over the

next few weeks, giving agents and guests instructions on how any changes will affect existing and future bookings,” he said. Norwegian Cruise Line scrapped

its Premium All Inclusive concept, which included all gratuities in the cruise fare, last week. It replaced it with Free At Sea, which requires customers to pay £99 to access two out of five benefits, two of which include gratuities. P&O Cruises will scrap daily

service charges across its fleet from May. The line said it would help attract new-to-cruise customers. Jordan Brewer, a sales manager

at Worldwide Cruises UK, said including service charges helped sell cruises. “I definitely would welcome it. It is quite a selling point for most of the cruise lines. If service charges are included, we will mention it to customers.” Brewer was a business

development specialist at NCL two years ago when the line decided to include service charges in fares and described the move as a

“big undertaking”. › Cruise News, page 26

4 April 2019 5


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