Scottish agents have said they are “devastated” by the demise of the Globespan Group as they begin the task of finding alternative flights and holidays for thousands of customers.


The group, which owned budget airline Flyglobespan and tour operator Globespan, collapsed yesterday afternoon with 4,500 customers in resort and around 100,000 booked to travel.


Agents in Scotland now face the challenge of finding alternative holidays for clients booked to travel over the Christmas period and many more with bookings for next summer.


President of the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association Brian Potter said: “Flyglobespan was Scotland’s biggest airline, so this is quite devastating. Many people used its short-haul flights to Majorca, Faro and Ibiza in particular. This leaves a big hole.


“People who booked direct and aren’t covered by their credit card could lose out. This highlights the importance of the government bringing in legislation to make sure everyone is covered when things go wrong.”


Scottish miniple Barrhead Travel had over 2000 customers booked on Flyglobespan flights, all covered by airline failure insurance or ATOL.


Founder Bill Munro said: “We had been preparing for 36 hours before Globespan went into administration and have put into action our well-rehearsed disaster recovery plan. We mustered a team of 50 consultants who worked until midnight last night and we opened again at 5.30 am this morning at Glasgow Airport  to help customers.


“The team is rebooking customers and helping those in resorts. Unfortunately we have been here before twice recently and our plan is well tried and tested. We will have this sorted within five days.”


Inverness-based Alba Travel director Janine Hogarth said lack of capacity from Scotland would be a big issue for the industry.


“I am devastated by the news; Flyglobespan meant so much to Scotland. The immediate problem is those who are going away over Christmas and then those who are booked for July.


“The problem is capacity – it will be difficult to find alternatives.”


Bryton Travel managing director Bryan Bath said his agency had about 42 forward bookings accounting for as many as 200 passengers. He added staff were desperately trying to book them on to other flights.


He said: “It’s been a real nightmare. We’ve been on Thomson’s website this morning trying to rebook and it is like a share index, prices are just going up and up.”


Bath said the airline was running some of Scotland’s most popular routes, including the only direct flights from Edinburgh to Orlando and Sharm el-Sheikh. He was also concerned the airline’s demise would affect inbound tourism.


“It is one less company that we can sell, which is not good after the year we’ve had. I don’t know what the Scottish government is going to say, but it is a big blow.”


Former Hays Travel homeworker Tricia Fearns, who joins Superior Travel in the new year, said the airline’s demise would further damage Scotland’s outbound tourism industry as airlift from the country is reduced.


She added: “There’s a feeling that everything stops at England, it’s as if Scotland doesn’t matter.”