Meridian Aviation UK director Phil Wyatt claims almost half the failed flight broker’s £6.8 million debt is owed to Lithuania-based Small Planet Airlines and further sums to himself and associates.
Wyatt and fellow director Andre Cachia’s report to creditors, including Olympic Holidays and Sunvil, shows Gatwick-based Meridian went into liquidation at the end of July despite profits in excess of £8.3 million over the three years to October 2011.
The report blames the debt on delays in licensing a carrier and the June failure of London restaurant Wabi, which Meridian owned. The carrier was Greenjet, which former associates of Wyatt and the failed Viking Hellas set up in Greece.
Travel Weekly has previously highlighted the link between Meridian Aviation and a string of failures, with Wyatt and associates Halldor Sigurdarson and Magnus Stephensen the subjects of a £1.4 million High Court claim resulting from one of these: the collapse of Goldtrail Holidays in 2010 (Travel Weekly, August 8).
Sigurdarson stood down as a Meridian Aviation director in July after joining Small Planet, for which Meridian brokered seats, as chief financial officer in May (Travel Weekly, August 15).
Goldtrail liquidator Ian Oakley Smith of PwC was appointed liquidator of Meridian Aviation on the insistence of Olympic and Sunvil and will report to a creditors’ committee comprising representatives of the operators and lawyer Malcolm Grumbridge, of Dorwell Holding, who acts for Wyatt.
The directors’ report lists Small Planet as lead creditor, with Travelworld Vacations (Olympic) owed just under £1 million. Olympic is claiming substantially more. Oakley Smith said: “My role will be to test the veracity of the directors’ report.”
An Olympic spokesman said: “You don’t expect anyone to go under at the end of July.” But he insisted: “This will not affect our financial performance.”
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