Kiss Flights travel company ceases trading

17.8.2010   (BBC)

Budget travel firm Kiss Flights has collapsed, sparking uncertainty for 70,000

The British-based company sold flights to Greece, Egypt, Turkey and the Canary

The Civil Aviation Authority said the thousands of travellers abroad who flew
with Kiss would get home as normal.

And anyone due to travel from the UK before 1800 BST on Wednesday is guaranteed
their flight out and return after their holiday, the CAA added.

Kiss currently has about 13,000 customers overseas and 60,000 people have forward
bookings with the company.

The “vast majority” of people who had booked future trips with the firm would
receive refunds, the CAA said.

London-based Flight Options, which has owned Kiss since January last year, ceased
trading at 1700 BST on Tuesday.

‘Picking up the pieces’

Last month Goldtrail, which specialised in holidays to Greece and Turkey, collapsed,
affecting as many as 50,000 travellers.

And last week Birmingham-based travel firm Sun4U folded, leaving about 1,500
people stuck abroad, mostly in Spain.

In all 13 travel firms have gone bust in the UK this year as a result of the
recession, belt-tightening by travellers and the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud
that threw European travel into turmoil.

Flight Options has bought a string of travel firms since it was launched in 1995
as a small tour operator offering seats only on various routes across the Mediterranean.

A statement on its website read: “As of 1700hrs on 17 August the Flight Options
group of companies have ceased trading.

“The Civil Aviation Authority have been informed and we are awaiting further
advice on the situation.”

A spokesman for the CAA said: “We are picking up the pieces. People abroad will
be fine.

“We will make sure everyone will be able to come back from their holidays. We
will also make arrangements so that all of the people who were Atol [Air Travel
Organisers’ Licensing] protected will received full refunds. That will be the
vast majority.”

Kiss Flights specialised in selling other travel firms seats on charter airlines,
so many customers may not know that their flights were booked through the firm.

Travel analyst Bob Atkinson, of, said: “Unfortunately
for some, it may be the case that some unlucky holidaymakers will be affected
all over again.

“At this stage it is unclear how many passengers will be protected by the Atol
scheme and we are waiting for advice from the CAA.

“This is sadly yet another collapse in what could become a rash of company failures
this autumn.”