September 15, 2008

More Travellers Stranded As K&S Collapses

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*A second British tour operator has gone bust, it emerged yesterday, as thousands of stranded customers of the collapsed travel firm XL Leisure were being repatriated by the aviation regulator. K&S Travel told regulators that it had ceased trading on Saturday evening, leaving around 150 people marooned in the Turkish port town of Bodrum. The north London-based firm primarily organises tours to Turkey through flights chartered from Onur Air. All those affected will be covered by the Atol protection scheme, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said, making it a simple matter of rechartering the flights for the same times. XL announced on Friday that it had been forced to call in administrators after failing to secure a rescue package, with company chiefs blaming high fuel prices and a worsening economy. But it has since emerged that a former auditor resigned in 2006 warning of "financial irregularities" at the firm. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said that as of midday some 22,090 XL customers had returned to the UK on 94 repatriation flights. Bookmakers are now taking bets as to who will be next to fall victim to harshening conditions in the travel sector with Italian flag-carrier Alitalia said to be teetering on the edge.

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