Airfasttickets in discussions with Iata after default

International travel agent Airfasttickets is in discussions with Iata after the airline association moved to suspend the firm from trading last week.

Travolution sister title Travel Weekly has seen a letter Iata sent to airlines using its Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP) service on June 18 which said the agent owes €45 million.

The letter stated that the company had been put in default in the UK ‘due to their inability to meet the deadline of their remittance obligations’.

Iata says the amount ‘at risk’ in the UK market is €14 million, in Germany the figure is €22 million and in Greece €9 million.

It went on: “Further to the default declaration for BSP UK, we have also proceeded to suspend the agent in Greece and Germany, due to the common ownership structure of these agencies.

“Ticketing authority for all BSP airlines in these markets has been removed by Iata andcommunicated to the GDSs, as per standard procedures.”

In a statement sent to Travel Weekly after inquiries were made with the company about the situation last week, Airfasttickets said:

“Airfasttickets (the “Company”) has been in discussions with Iata regarding the terms of its payment and bond/guarantee obligations as a result of the rapid and significant increase in the company’s sales volume.

“These discussions are ongoing and confidential, and we are confident that a mutually beneficial agreement will be reached.

“The Company remains financially stable and our business operations are continuing as normal.”

On Friday, founder and chief executive of Airfasttickets Nikolaos Koklonis, said that the money it owed was in the bank and that discussions were ongoing with Iata.

He said the firm had decided to work outside of Iata from July in the UK and Germany and to concentrate on using consolidators to remain competitive in those markets.

He said the firm’s rapid growth in recent months had prompted Iata to request its bank collateral to increase from €11 million to €20 million.

“We are an international company and we do not have any problem,” he said. “We have decided in the UK market it’s better for us to work with consolidators to continue to grow.”

Koklonis added Airfasttickets’ rapid growth has put a strain on its services in the UK and it was looking to recruit more people to work on customer service at its base in Acton.

Last November Airfasttickets told Travolution of its ambitions to become a top five OTA.

The firm was originally founded in Greece in 2009 but its headquarters was moved to the US and it was said to have been awaiting approval for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the NASDAQ.

The Iata letter said: “We continue to stay in close daily contact with the group’s management, in order to find a viable solution for the settlement of all outstanding amounts, and will explore repayment options as well.

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