Sun4u collapse heightens late bookings market fears
Holidaymakers pay out again as tour operator Sun4U collapses
By Peter Woodman and Katie Hodge, PA
Holidaymakers were today having to pay for their overseas accommodation for a
second time following the collapse of tour operator Sun4U.
And the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) warned that Sun4U-booked travellers arriving
overseas may find their airport transfers and booked accommodation unavailable
The Birmingham-based company ceased trading on Wednesday night, with about 1,200
UK holidaymakers abroad, mostly in Spain.
Some of these are covered by the CAA-run Atol (Air Travel Operators’ Licensing)
scheme and will be able to carry on with their holidays and travel home.
But Sun4U also organised flight-only and accommodation-only trips which are not
covered by the Atol arrangement.
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Sun4u collapse heightens lates market fears
13.8.2010 (Travel Weekly)
Birmingham-based Sun4u ceased trading this morning, prompting fears more travel
firms could collapse as the lates market falters.
Sun4u was a victim, Travel Weekly understands, of the ash cloud crisis in April and May and failure of Turkey specialist Goldtrail Holidays but more importantly sustained poor trading.
The 40 staff at the retailer’s call centre were told this morning of the collapse,
which is expected to leave Barclaycard and the Civil Aviation Authority picking up most
of the bill. The cost to the Air Travel Trust fund that backs the CAA’s Atol scheme
is expected to be around £500,000.
A source close to the collapse said: “It’s miserable out there at the moment, there just aren’t the bookings around.
The back two weeks of August are looking pretty lousy. You’d normally expect collapses
from September when the cash starts drying up, but this is still mid-August.”
Sun4u had an Atol and a bond with the CAA worth around £300,000 although this
is expected to be insufficient to cover all its licensable business.
It had a turnover of around £20 million, approximately 50,000 customers a year
and a myriad of trading names including OnTheCaseHolidays.co.uk, FlyBeachSun.co.uk, Bonusbreakaways.com and Golden Sun4U.com.
It was described as a typical split contracting retailer specialising in Spain
and highly reliant on Teletext for generating business.
Sun4u had two directors, Tina Patel, the managing director, and Leigh Erickson,
who was the finance director. It has previously operated an office in Swindon
and opened a retail outlet on the high street in a coffee shop in March last year but this was forced to
Administrators Antony Batty have been appointed and the company is expected to
be put quickly into liquidation with Barclays Bank being the main creditor.
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