More than half of the 140,000 people who have lost out through the collapse of Lowcost Travel Group are British holidaymakers.
The joint administrator confirmed last night that around 77,000 of the total holding bookings with the failed company come from the UK.
The business failed on Friday leaving thousands without holidays and little chance of getting their money back as Low Cost Travel did not hold a Civil Aviation Authority Atol bond.
Administrators, Finbarr O’Connell and Henry Shinners, from Smith & Williamson said: “We currently believe there are around 140,000 customers who have lost out, of which around 55% are British.
“We are not appointed as administrators of Lowcostholidays Spain SL, the subsidiary company through which most holidaymakers will have booked.
“However, the Govern de les Illes Balears has told us that it has a bond in place from Lowcostholidays for €1.3 million and we currently expect that claims could be in the region of £50 million albeit that it is still early days and so the total level of claims is not yet known.
“It is only once claims are finalised that a specific figure for the compensation available to individual holidaymakers will become evident.”
They went on to confirm that the amount of compensation for holidaymakers from this source will prove to be “negligible” – around 1% or 2% based on the current estimate of claims.
“This is primarily due to the low value of the bond held with the Spanish regulator by Lowcostholidays relative to the number of people affected,” the administrators admitted.
“If holidaymakers have alternative avenues for obtaining refunds/compensation, for example, through their credit card supplier, other payment protection schemes or travel insurance, we recommend they should pursue those urgently.
“We should stress that each individual will be in a different position depending on, for example, their insurance and the manner in which they paid.”
They added: “We are doing our best, despite not being appointed as administrators of Lowcostholidays Spain SL, and in the difficult and rapidly changing circumstances, to assist the directors of the remaining companies to achieve the best outcome we can for creditors, including holidaymakers, staff and other stakeholders and to communicate information in a timely manner as it becomes available.
“Flights, as regards those currently in resorts, have been paid for and hence customers will be able to fly home when their holidays are over.
“As regards those who have not yet travelled, there is a very small proportion who will unfortunately find their flights have not yet been paid for and many will regrettably have problems regarding their hotel and other ancillary services which they have paid for, but where Lowcosttravel has not passed on that payment to the supplier of the services in question. Therefore it is essential that holidaymakers check directly with their airlines, hotels etc, as to whether their bookings will be honoured.”
Once the Spanish and Swiss parts of the Low Cost Travel Group are formally in an insolvency process, people will also be able to lodge claims with the administrators of those companies, they added.
The group and its subsidiary companies ceased trading “following exhaustive attempts by the group’s directors to rescue the business, which were hampered by the recent and ongoing turbulent financial environment,” according to a statement from the adminstrators.
The Times reported that private equity investors were on the brink of saving the struggling company with an injection of cash three weeks ago but the deal collapsed when Britain voted to leave the European Union.
A senior figure in the company, who did not want to be named, said: “The fall in the value of the pound after the vote hit the business hard. The company did not hedge the risk and didn’t have the cash on its balance sheet to survive.”
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