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Travel firms that have gone bust: 2019 - Present

Posted on 06 April 2022

As coronavirus restrictions begin to ease in many countries - including the UK - the travel industry is taking stock of the economic damage done by the pandemic.

Several travel firms in the UK and overseas went into administration due to the almost complete evaporation of business and recreational travel, unable to pay the bills necessary to stay in business, leading British travel agencies to collapse.


What travel firms went bust in 2019?

Superbreak & Late Rooms 

Some firms went under before Covid-19 began to spread - such as York-based Superbreak and London-based Late Rooms, two-holiday booking firms who succumbed back in August of 2019.

Thomas Cook

The collapse of Thomas Cook in September of 2019 was an even bigger shock - both for the industry and for thousands of Britons who found themselves stranded abroad as the holiday company went bust.

Airlines (FlyBe)

With the arrival of coronavirus, more plane companies had gone bust, including UK airline Flybe. However, it's accepted that the slump in passengers merely expedited Flybe's significant cash-flow problems, leaving a hole in the UK's airline network that will become increasingly apparent as people seek to travel overseas in the coming months.


Loans to avoid travel companies going bust?

Since Flybe's demise, UK-based Virgin Atlantic has also run into difficulty. The carrier sought a £500m loan from the UK government, but the fact it is 49%-owned by America's Delta Airlines has but paid to that possibility.

EasyJet, a UK PLC, was more fortunate, having secured a £600m loan from the UK government, helping to ensure Europe's second-biggest budget carrier will weather the Covid-19 storm and stop the British travel company from going out of business.


What overseas airlines entered administration?

Overseas, many other airlines fell into administration, including Virgin Australia, Compass Airlines and Air Mauritius.


Shearings coach holidays

Back on land, Specialist Leisure Group (SLG) has also gone under, taking with it the Shearings coach holiday brand and thousands of jobs. Shearings was founded in 1919 and until this spring was Europe's largest coach tour operator, running coach and river tours across the UK and mainland Europe.


Have any travel companies survived going bust?

Some long-established airlines and holiday firms have disappeared, but before Covid-19 many of these were profitable enterprises. As such, there are plenty of potential buyers who know that demand will return at some point.


Purchase of travel firms that have gone bust, by competitors

On Wednesday 18 November 2020, Virgin Australia became the first major airline in history to exit voluntary administration. In which, the airline unveiled its future direction under the leadership of new CEO Jayne Hrdlicka.

In addition, the news of Shearings coach holidays downfall lead the escorted touring company Leger Holidays, to announce the acquisition of the assets of former competitor Shearings. The deal will see Leger Holidays acquire the Shearings brand, website and customer database.


Have any travel companies expanded their business since the Coronavirus pandemic?

Let's not forget that some travel firms see huge opportunities as the mists of coronavirus clear. For instance, Hungarian low-cost carrier WizzAir plans to expand routes across the UK and Europe: they expect demand to rise in the coming months, at a time when other no-frills airlines like EasyJet and RyanAir are cutting staff and routes.


List of travel companies that have gone bust:


  • Superbreak & Late Rooms - August 2019
  • Thomas Cook - September 2019
  • Fly365 - online flight booking - Feb 2020
  • Flybe - March 2020
  • Air Mauritius - April 2020


What should you do if your holiday company goes bust?

if your overseas holiday was booked with an ATOL member then you can apply to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for a full refund before you’re due to travel.


What happens if my holiday company goes bust whilst I’m abroad?

If you’re already on holiday when the company goes bust, if your holiday was booked with an ATOL member, the CAA will repatriate you.

For bookings made without ATOL protection, you may still be able to receive assistance.

Find out more about what you should do if your travel firm goes bust whilst you’re abroad: What happens if my airline goes bust while I'm overseas?


Wil my travel insurance cover me if my holiday company goes bust?

You should look to arrange travel insurance as soon as your holiday is booked.

Depending on the travel insurance policy you take out, your travel insurance can cover you against companies going out of business, as well as the cancellation of your holiday for medical or other reasons.


Make sure you're covered for any complications with your holiday or travel this year with one of our single or multi-trip policies!

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