Dnata Travel would not have resumed taking UK bookings for this summer had it known in July there would be so many changes to travel corridors.
But dnata Travel Europe chief executive John Bevan said customers had to “take some responsibility” when holidays are cancelled due to changing government advice and warned companies would change their terms and conditions to share the risk.
Bevan told Travel Weekly: “If I had my time again, I would have foregone the bookings. Things started to reopen. We were keen to get things rolling so we accepted the bookings. Then the government switched off Spain and chaos followed. We had clients screaming to cancel, airlines still flying, people wanting to amend. The call centres went mad.”
He argued: “Clients knowingly took a risk. If people buy holidays knowing a destination could change to ‘red’, they have to bear some risk. Everyone who booked from June on was taking a risk. You have to take some responsibility. We will see a change in terms and conditions.”
Bevan warned: “The situation now is very serious [and] we don’t see it changing. I’m worried we’ll see a lot of companies not able to carry on come the end of October.”
A member of the Abta board, he said: “It was a board decision. The problem is the airlines. The Package Travel Regulations (PTRs) aren’t linked to the airline regulations and if the airlines carry on flying, the most‑expensive part of a package has a different rule. The PTRs and airlines have to come together, otherwise tour operators which put together components will stop doing it and passengers won’t be protected.”
Bevan added: “Covid has shown the industry to be fragmented. We need better coordination.”
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