Pressure has mounted on The Co-operative Travel to agree commercial terms with Kiss Flights after members who agreed their own terms were put on stop-sell.
When Kiss emerged from the wreckage of the XL Leisure Group collapse in 2008, CTTG managing director Mike Greenacre, scarred by the loss of £1.8 million in the failure, vowed never to work with the new venture.
But it has emerged some members of Freedom Travel Group, the Co-op’s consortium, were able to get around the head office’s directive by doing a deal with Kiss via its parent Flight Options.
However, they have been given notice by Kiss that this arrangement will end today (February 19) after attempts to agree commercial terms with the Co-op failed last month.
Greenacre admitted at last year’s Freedom conference that a deal with Kiss was being worked on, having had demands from members who needed access to its seats. It was hoped a deal would be in place by January.
But Kiss Flights director Paul Moss, formerly a director of XL-owned Freedom Flights, said talks broke down after the Co-op made “unreasonable” demands in relation to payment terms.
“If CTTG was to start doing the amount of business it was doing with Freedom Flights, I would have to pull the plug on it because I could not take that volume on those terms,” he said. “I would love to have the Co-op as a customer of Kiss. I’m happy to come back to the negotiating table anytime.”
Moss said he decided to put Freedom Travel Group on stop-sell as bookings started to flood in during the peaks.
Due to the arrangement, Kiss Flights was incurring additional charges by Flight Options, which did not have the resources to cope with the volume of sales, he said.
“As the January rush came, bookings increased from those Co-op members trading through Flight Options, but it is not geared up to handle those volumes,” added Moss.
Jane Atkins, managing director of Freedom Travel Group, said members were being kept updated on the situation with Kiss Flights.
“The Freedom Travel Group does not have, and has never had, a commercial agreement with Flight Options/Kiss Flights,” she said.
“However, we’re in continued negotiations and hope to establish commercial terms.”
David Hawke, managing director of Freedom member Monster Travel, said his firm did not deal with Kiss but he was among the members pressing to sell Kiss. “The indication was they would reach an agreement – we’re waiting with baited breath.”
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