Tour operator enters administration
A tour operator with 13,000 UK holidaymakers currently abroad has gone into administration.
Brighton-based Holidays 4 UK, which also traded as Aegean Flights, sold packages and flights to Turkey. The company has 18 employees and had an annual turnover of about £35 million.
Administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) would be responsible for getting home those already abroad as long as they had booked flights as part of a package holiday. These people are covered by the CAA's Air Travel Organisers' Licensing Scheme (Atol).
Ian Oakley-Smith of PwC said: "The company has suffered because of the difficulties faced by the travel industry during 2010 and 2011, as a result of the economic downturn. The director has determined that the business is no longer able to trade and placed the company into administration.
"The company will cease operating with immediate effect. Regrettably most staff have been made redundant. We will be working closely with employees affected by this decision to ensure they receive the support they need during this difficult time to assist with their claims for redundancy and other compensatory payments."
Later, the CAA said all those abroad should be able to complete their holidays as planned and return to the UK. It added that all Holidays 4U holiday bookings and flights were now cancelled and customers should not go to UK departure airports. Those already abroad and due to fly home in the coming weeks should arrive at their airport for their flight home as normal.
The CAA said it was trying to ensure that all Atol-protected holidaymakers in Turkey would be able to stay in their accommodation until they were due to travel home. It said: "If customers are asked to pay again for accommodation, they should send a claim to the CAA on their return home so that a refund can be considered."
Holidays 4 UK customers who are currently abroad and experiencing difficulties should contact the CAA for more information on 0044 (0) 161 444 5810. Those with forward bookings requiring general advice about refunds under the Atol scheme should go to the CAA website or can contact the CAA on 08444 933037.
Atol scheme spokesman David Clover said: "There is never a good time for a travel firm to fail; unfortunately the height of summer is the worst possible time. However people who booked Atol-protected holidays with Holidays 4U who are currently abroad will be able to complete their holiday or claim a refund from the CAA. We would always advise people to check with their holiday company that their booking is protected by Atol."
One consolation for those with forward bookings with the company who have now had their holiday plans wrecked and who are now looking for a replacement trip is that, unusually for August, there are a number of last-minute deals still available.