5th Dec, 2016

Heartache as Solihull holiday firm collapses

Solihull Editorial 8th Jul, 2016 Updated: 21st Oct, 2016

SOLIHULL travel firm World Sky Travel, which traded as Anatolian Sky Holidays has gone bust – causing a holiday nightmare for its 150 customers currently on foreign shores.

The Warwick-road-based company, which specialised in package holidays to Turkey, ceased trading on Friday (July 1), citing ‘regional political problems’ in Turkey.

Just two week’s ago Turkey’s main airport – Ataturk Airport in Istanbul – was targeted by terrorists who killed 44 people and injured hundreds more in a suicide attack.

And it appears the attack was the straw that broke the camel’s back for the Solihull firm which had been suffering because of the fear of terrorism.

World Sky Travel had 150 customers abroad at the time of its collapse and a further 460 bookings (around 1,020 people) scheduled to travel in the coming months.

Those currently overseas are being helped by the CAA, which runs the ATOL scheme to protect holidaymakers.

World Sky Travel Managing Director – Mr Akin Koc – said he was very sad to announce the news.

“We have served our clients and agents with passion and enthusiasm for the past 26 years. We loved what we were doing and more than anything we loved the wonderful country of Turkey and all the other countries and products we offered.

“We have been under pressure since the regional political problems started in the past few years and intensified last year and this year.

“Turkey has been under attack by regional terrorism and by global powers.

“Every new attack has had a devastating effect on the company.

“We tried to divert the business to some new destinations to make up for the lost business from Turkey, but it was not enough to replace it.

“It has become impossible to cope and sustain the business particularly through recent attacks.

“We had to take this sad decision yesterday to avoid any further disruption and uncertainty to our clients for their holidays.

“We are still working as a whole team to make sure all our clients in the resorts and immediate clients due to depart will carry on enjoying their holidays with the minimum of disruption.

“We can only apologise to our clients and agents for the disruption and inconvenience it may cause.”

The CAA, which runs the ATOL scheme to protect UK holidaymakers, is now making arrangements to support the company’s customers and has published advice for those affected.

Anyone booked with the company who is currently abroad should have scheduled airline tickets, which remain valid and can be used to return home as planned.

The CAA is in contact with accommodation and airport transfer providers to make sure there are no changes to the arrangements booked through the company. Further advice on accommodation arrangements has been published on the CAA website.

Andy Cohen, Head of ATOL, said: “The collapse of World Sky Travel is a timely reminder of why holidaymakers should make sure their holiday is ATOL protected and that they receive an ATOL certificate, as soon as they’ve booked their trips.

“As a result of the ATOL scheme, customers of this company have the peace of mind they will be able to complete their holidays and return home as planned if already abroad, or get a full refund if yet to travel.“

Further information and an ATOL claim form will be available from www.atol.org.uk in due course.

ATOL top tips:

1. Think outside the box – package holidays can be personalised. There are plenty of ways to tailor a holiday for you and your family, so don’t be put off by the term ‘package holiday’. Buying a package where flights and accommodation are booked through one company means your holiday will be ATOL protected and your money will be safe. Remember, if you book a hotel and flight with different suppliers, your whole trip will not be ATOL protected, and you could lose your hard earned cash if either company fails.

2. Do your research and check for ATOL protection. Sadly, some travel websites falsely display the ‘ATOL Protected’ logo, in order to lure and defraud customers out of their hard earned cash. You can check a company has ATOL protection easily.

• Write down the company name and/or the 4 or 5 digit ATOL number.

• Visit www.packpeaceofmind.co.uk and enter the details into the ‘Check an ATOL’ database, which has a list of all ATOL registered companies.

3. Think beyond the price. There are many foreign-based travel companies, which offer cheap and attractive package holidays, but these will not have ATOL protection. If booking with a non-UK travel company find out what financial protection they provide and if this covers company failure and repatriation. If not, you may decide to take out additional travel insurance to include insolvency protection, which may mean you pay extra.

4. Take your ATOL certificate with you. You must receive an ATOL certificate as soon as you pay any money towards an ATOL protected holiday. The certificate confirms what is protected, which company is responsible for your holiday booking (it may not be the company you are booking with directly) and what to do if the company ceases trading. Whether you print out the certificate or have a digital version with you, it’s important to take your certificate with you.

5. Use a credit card and take out good medical and travel insurance. If you are booking your holiday through a number of travel operators, this will not be ATOL protected, so remember to pay with a credit or debit card. These cards provide some protection if the goods and services you’ve booked are not delivered, for instance if one of the travel operators fails, but may not cover consequential losses. And make sure you have travel insurance, which will cover medical costs and other potential expenses such as damage or loss of any possessions you take with you.