Start-up charter carrier JetXtra.com has been ordered to stop selling tickets by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
A partner of travel group CTT, JetXtra plans to operate flights from Humberside airport to Majorca and Malaga for three months from June. Seats went on sale in the second week of January, with the carrier saying all sales would be protected under the CTT Atol.
The airline claimed it halted sales following a threat of legal action by regional carrier Jet2. However, the CAA confirmed it had acted to prevent the sale of unlicensed holidays.
A CAA spokesman said: "CTT sought permission to trade with JetXtra.com. We have not yet approved that and until we do it cannot sell holidays. We would not allow a company to sell seats it does not have a licence for." The spokesman confirmed: "This has nothing to do with Jet2."
CTT holds a licence to carry just 620 passengers in the year to September and only 150 this summer, when JetXtra hopes to carry 9,000 passengers. The CAA previously confirmed to Travel Weekly that JetXtra would only be allowed to offer the number of seats for which CTT is licensed unless it approved an extension.
However, the JetXtra website claimed the halt in sales was "due to Jet2.com legal threats". Jet2.com has written to JetXtra suggesting its name is "misleading".
According to the JetXtra site: "JetXtra.com have been told by the CAA . . . that until a decision is made by Jet2.com in relation to any legal proceedings, the JetXtra.com trading name will not be allowed on to the Atol licence of CTT Group."
JetXtra director Daniel Reilly said: “We are naturally disappointed by this decision. To be hit with this at one of the busiest times of the year for summer holiday bookings is a massive blow."
Reilly claimed: "The decision would appear to be a knee-jerk reaction by the CAA as our legal team have informed us that until such time that an injunction was granted, or there was a court ruling in Jet2.com's favour, that we are free to continue trading as JetXtra.com.
“We will be appealing this decision as soon as possible in the hope that we can recommence sales under the JetXtra.com brand without too much of a loss to our business.”
Potential passengers are still able to check flight prices on JetXtra.com, but no bookings can be made. Reilly said: “Any customer who has already booked should not be concerned as this decision to temporarily halt trading will not affect their booking or financial protection offered under the CTT Group Atol."