Pictured: Paul Stanley of Begbies Traynor
Travel agency Omega Travel has collapsed less than two months after its Atol licence was suspended.
Begbies Traynor has been appointed liquidators of the £300 million turnover travel company.
An urgent investigation is underway to recover more than £20 million owed to creditors.
The company launched in 1965 and specialised in travel to and from the Far East.
It is based in Milton Keynes, and also had branches in London, Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh.
Turnover recorded last year was £298,989,588.
Paul Stanley and Dean Watson, of Begbies Traynor, have been appointed as joint compulsory liquidators.
Stanley, regional managing partner, said: “The official receiver appointed us as liquidators within 24 hours of the winding up order being issued. This demonstrates the urgency of action being taken and the magnitude of the numbers involved.
“We are already arranging interviews with staff and directors at the company as well as liaising with creditors. We are at an early stage in proceedings but we are making significant progress and have identified at least £20m owed to creditors. “We will update interested parties as we advance our detailed investigations into the exact whereabouts of the company’s assets.”
Omega Travel traded under various names including Far East Travel Centre, Budget Travel, Travelsky.co.uk and Chinese Travel Shop. Recently it changed its name to Milburn Travel.
As a result of the debts, an industry expert has warned airlines could lobby Iata to ask for BSP payments weekly, rather than fortnightly – thus reducing cashflow for agents.
Alan Bowen, advisor to the Association of Atol Companies, said: “It’s left a bit of a mess, and airlines lose out, so all the other agencies will lose out as a result.”
Iata moved BSP payments from monthly to fortnightly in 2016, a move that was met with criticism for not giving agents enough time to adjust their business plans.
Bowen added: “The travel industry is dependent on cashflow. If you are going to have to pay instantly, that cashflow has gone.”
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