TUI remains at the top of the list. The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has completed and posted its list of ATOL (Air Travel Organizers’ License) for the next half year, providing the tour and travel industry with our de facto list of the country’s tour operators, .And, as was the case for the past several years, TUI leads all on the basis of ATOLs for passengers for the next 12 months.
A couple of other points of note: the disappearance of Thomas Cook, which went out of business last September; the decline of Virgin Holidays, which slipped from No. 11 to No. 20 since the previous ATOL list was posted last October; and the appearance of easyjet Holidays (it handles packaged product, while easyjet Airline Company, a separate ATOL holder, covers third-party product sold via its website) which was re-launched last fall in the wake of the shutdown of Thomas Cook.
The new list was to have been ready by the beginning of April, but the CAA gave operators an extension due to the havoc created by the COVIN-19 global pandemic. It is unclear if the country’s tour operator sector grasped the full impact of the pandemic at the time they filed for their ATOLs, or whether the CAA accounted for it, either.
A Note: The Air Travel Organizers’ Licensing is a CAA program developed to give financial protection to people who have purchased package holidays and flights from a member tour operator. An ATOL licensed tour operator must obtain insurance bonds from the CAA so that the latter is able to provide refunds to travelers affected by any event which causes an airline to be unable to provide travel for its customers, and to arrange for flights (in addition to accommodation and other items which may be included in a package holiday) to return home those already abroad at the time. According to published reports, last year’s failure of Thomas Cook has resulted in some 340,000 claims, valued at almost £350 million (nearly $425 million) from the ATOL program.
The list of the UK’s Top 50 Tour Operators, based on ATOL-authorized passenger levels, follows.