September 12, 2008

A Scramble for Flights

THE collapse has sparked a scramble for the few remaining flights, with carriers bumping up prices.

Furious XL customers besieged the firm's main airport Gatwick this morning, one of the busiest days of the week for holiday flights.

Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly said everything possible was being done to get stranded holidaymakers home.

She said: "The CAA have a wealth of experience in dealing with these sorts of situations and are putting systems in place to get people home, while the Government stands ready to provide the CAA with operational assistance should they need it."

XL's demise is the latest blow to the British travel industry and follows the collapse of budget airline Zoom last month.

A Civil Aviation Authority spokesman said: "We will make arrangements for those customers currently abroad who booked their holiday or flight with an ATOL tour operator to complete their holidays and fly home.

ATOL spokesman David Clover described the group's collapse as "a huge failure" and urged disgruntled holidaymakers to be patient.

Other firms under the XL banner include XL Leisure Group, XL Airways UK, Excel Aviation, Explorer House, Aspire Holiday, Freedom Flights, The Really Great Holiday Company, Medlife Hotels, Travel City Flights and Kosmar Villa Holidays.

(c) 2008 Evening Mail; Birmingham (UK). Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.