Tour operator Fleetway Travel has gone into administration after more than 40 years in business.

Fleetway Travel ceased trading this afternoon, just days after UK outbound travel resumed, with 6,500 Atol-protected bookings and a smaller number of accommodation-only bookings to be refunded by Abta.

The company had offices in London and Sheffield and employed 85 staff, who were informed of the administration via Zoom.

The CAA said no travellers were abroad at the time.

In a statement, the CAA said consumers with cancelled bookings
would be able to submit a claim under Atol.

It advised those due to travel to check with their airline and said, consumers who choose to travel “may be asked to pay again for replacement services” including accommodation, transfers or other services.

But they would be entitled to claim for a refund, the CAA said, as would those choosing not to travel or whose flight tickets are not valid.

Fleetway chief executive Stuart Jackson was formerly a senior executive at Monarch Group where he ran tour operator Cosmos Holidays before joining Fleetway in 2016.

The tour operator had been trading since the late 1970s but was acquired by private equity groups Synova Capital and Tenzing Private Equity in 2015 and moved chiefly online following the acquisition.

It merged with New York-based DH Enterprise & Associates, operating as Great Value Vacations, in February this year to form the TravelSmart International Group under the chairmanship of Ian Coghlan, former Fleetway chairman.

The company sold luxury holidays worldwide, including a significant US business.

It carried 68,000 passengers and recorded a transaction turnover of £38 million in 2018, the last full year for which it filed results.

Fleetway’s annual revenue was about £10 million.

As well as Fleetway Travel, it traded under names including Exclusive Luxury Breaks, Explorer’s Collection, Late Bargains, Luxury Holiday Collection, Phone & Fly, Sail Away, Silversurfers Holidays and Travelsmart.

CAA head of Atol Andy Cohen said: “We understand this will be concerning news for anyone who has booked to travel with the company or has had their booking cancelled.

“It is a sad day for the industry when a long-established business like Fleetway ceases trading.

“However, the Atol scheme exists for exactly this kind of situation and we are making arrangements so all Atol-protected customers may make a claim.”

PwC has been appointed administrator.

Which? Travel editor Rory Boland said: “Seeing yet another travel firm fail during the pandemic is a deeply worrying sign for the industry, particularly as the government simply watches on instead of providing support to companies who need help.

“The collapse of Fleetway Travel will be disappointing for thousands of customers who have been looking forward to a long-awaited holiday. They now face having to pay twice to go away this summer, as they could face a long wait for a refund.”