Travelrepublic issued with CAA breach writ

Online travel agency Travel Republic and its managing director have been hit with a string of court summonses on charges of breaching civil aviation regulations.

At the same time, the CAA warned it will pursue travel agents for repayment once it settles several thousand claims for refunds following the failure of Freedom Flights.

Westminster Magistrates Court issued 20 summonses against Travel Republic and another 20 against managing director Kane Pirie, who will appear in court on February 11.

Travolution understands Travelrepublic has already retained a “top barrister” to deal with case. However, the company has refused to comment on the case amid concern amongst a string of online travel agencies as to their fate under the announcement from the CAA.

These summonses were sought by the CAA over a breach of regulation relating to the sale of flights and accommodation without the cover of an ATOL.

The CAA declined to comment but issued a statement explaining its policy on claims for a refund on seat-only bookings with Freedom Flights, which ceased trading in September when parent company XL Leisure Group failed, and the smaller Pure Flights which collapsed in August.

The trustees of the Air Travel Trust fund and the CAA said retailers have submitted a large number of claims for flights sold at the same time as accommodation and they consider these as sales of package holidays.

Therefore, they said, passengers have a right to claim against these retailers as package organisers.

The CAA and trustees will consider these passengers eligible for refunds of flight-only bookings provided they furnish evidence of a claim against the relevant retailer. However, the retailers will receive legal demand to repay the refunded money to the Air Travel Trust Fund once the claims are settled.

It is believed the claim involved hundreds of travel agents, although a substantial number have been made by no more than 12 retailers.

* Travolution Blog – A critical moment in the history of independent online travel agencies

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