CAA refuses to pay out on Goldtrail claims

The Civil Aviation Authority has told several retailers that bookings with Goldtrail Travel will not be reimbursed by the Air Travel Trust Fund.

The retailers are understood to include Travel Republic and On the Beach. The decision was relayed by letter this week.

The CAA refused to comment, but was expected to hold talks with agents over the next few days, pending a statement to clarify the situation. As many as half of its bookings were found to be outside the Atol-protection scheme.

Goldtrail ceased trading in July with 112,000 advance bookings. The company held an Atol, but appears to have been overtrading massively.

Former On the Beach finance director Geoff Wood, who is now acting as a consultant for the agency, said its customers had submitted incomplete forms to the CAA. He said: “We are still talking to the CAA. Claims are being examined on an individual case. Some of our customers have submitted incomplete forms to them, so we haven’t got a real basis on which to discuss anything.”

The CAA agreed a deal with Atol-holding retailers to share the cost of consumer refunds. But the fund trustees ruled out paying several thousand claims for bookings through retailers that do not hold an Atol at a meeting last week.

Questions remain over the timing of Goldtrail’s failure. Creditors were due to meet on Friday, with several parties dissatisfied at the performance of administrator Begbies Traynor.

The failure triggered fears that a section of the trade would be shut out of sales to the eastern Mediterranean next summer, after Viking Airlines – which provided most of the flights for Goldtrail – withdrew aircraft from the UK.

However, Monarch Airlines indicated this week it would plug some of the gap. Group chairman Iain Rawlinson said the carrier was “interested in increasing capacity to the eastern Mediterranean”. He told Travel Weekly: “There are opportunities opening up because of the limited number of providers.”


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