TravelTek

Published on Monday, October 23, 2017

A1 Travel failure: More Monarch 'aftershocks' likely



Last week's failure of A1 Travel could well be the first of several 'aftershocks' following the demise of Monarch, according to an industry expert.


The warning comes from Martin Alcock, director of Travel Trade Consultancy, who said: "Competition in the short-haul beach holiday market has been intense this year, and margins are very thin, so it doesn't take much in the way of extra costs to nudge operators into financial problems.


"Sadly the Monarch failure hit the travel sector like an earthquake, saddling lots of companies with the cost of replacing flights at a point in the year when cash is most under pressure.


"I fear we'll be seeing further aftershocks over the next few months, as more operators struggle to deal with the consequences of replacing flights, refunding customers and repaying the Civil Aviation Authority for the Monarch repatriation exercise during October."


Essex-based Chadwell Travel, which also traded as A1 Travel, in Ilford, folded on Friday, with 6,000 forward bookings and 'several thousand' customers abroad, according to the CAA.


It is understood the company fell victim to the knock-on effects of the Monarch Group failure earlier this month.


The CAA says over 18,000 A1 Travel and Chadwell Travel clients will be protected under the Air Travel Organiser's Licence scheme

Most forward bookings are being managed by Broadway Travel, but some customers whose original booking included a Monarch flight could be told their holiday will be refunded if an alternative flight is not available. 


Alcock, who spoke earlier this month at the ABTA Convention, added: "Chadwell Travel was the 33rd largest ATOL holder with a licence to carry 95,000 passengers.


"Normally this would be a very expensive failure but the CAA has appointed Broadway Travel to fulfil the forward bookings.


"This will relieve some of the administrative pressure on the CAA. It should also significantly reduce the cost on the Air Travel Trust fund, because fulfilling the holidays is generally cheaper than stopping people from flying and paying out full refunds."


CAA head of ATOL Andy Cohen said: "Chadwell Travel is a long-established travel business, so our thoughts go out to all those who worked for the company, at this very sad time.

"However I am pleased to say that we have agreed with our fulfilment partner, Broadway Travel, that the majority of ATOL protected customers will be able to have their well-earned holidays as planned.

"Those ATOL protected customers currently abroad can also have the peace of mind they will be able to complete their holidays and return home when they had originally planned to."

The CAA advised customers due to depart in the next week to telephone Broadway Travel on 0191 600 0546, email help@broadwaytravel.com or go to www.atol.org.uk.

 

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