Wings Abroad suspends all UK operations

Wings Abroad suspends all UK operations

Turkey specialist Wings Abroad has suspended all UK operations after failing to find a buyer for the business.

Three of the tour operator’s staff have been made redundant, while two have been kept on until the London office is officially vacated at the end of May.

Customers booked to go away in May or June will have their holidays protected by a separate ATOL holder, yet to be named, subject to Civil Aviation Authority approval. All other holidaymakers have been given full refunds.

The company stopped taking new bookings on April 1 and did not renew its Atol licence after a potential sale fell through at the end of March. Since then owner Tevfik Bagci has been unable to find another buyer.

The company will continue to be registered - despite not trading day-to-day - in the hope the owner can resurrect operations at a later date. All debts to suppliers are being paid off.

The company will review the situation later this year and consider the prospects for restarting business for a 2013 operation, according to spokesman Chris Mansell, a consultant for the business.

Mansell, who continues to be a consultant for separate Tunisian specialist Just Sunshine, said: “Wings Abroad is not closing down but it will effectively be mothballed and if prospects improve the decision will be made to resurrect the business. There has been no necessity to call the bond and all debts to suppliers will be met.

“Apart from the intial buyer, not many have been interested in buying the company. There is not the sentiment to take on yet more risk.”

The operator contacted travel agents from early April so they could rebook clients who had holidays booked with Wings Abroad. “We have upset a few agents but by being upfront agents have been able to sort this out in plenty of time before clients are due to go away,” he added.

The company had originally hoped to carry 8,000-10,000 passengers this year under new ownership.

Meanwhile, Wings Abroad Ireland, which operates as a separate company, remains unaffected and continues to trade as normal. Bagci does not own the Irish business but is a shareholder. “The situation affecting Wings Abroad UK has no effect on Irish agents,” said Mansell, who denied there were any plans to sell the Irish business.

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