Travel Agents

AFTA considers partial ATAS review following collapse of online travel agency

Huntley Mitchell

Huntley Mitchell

Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) chief executive Jayson Westbury said a partial review of its ATAS scheme will be given “serious consideration” following the liquidation of a member.

According to a notice by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Fly365 – which was trading as Fly365.com – was placed into voluntary liquidation on Friday, after a meeting with members of the company.

The collapse of the Queensland-based online travel agency – which was established in August 2015 – has caught AFTA by surprise, with the federation claiming that Fly365 had been providing all the relevant information and undertakings to be compliant with the ATAS scheme until the liquidation announcement.

AFTA said it was not given any advance warning, or prior advice, that Fly365 was entering voluntary liquidation, and is now investigating the circumstances leading to its collapse.

Jayson Westbury (pictured above), chief executive of AFTA, said: “This is a very regrettable situation and AFTA strongly believes that contributing circumstances beyond the control of AFTA and the ATAS scheme have resulted in this outcome.

“AFTA does all that it can to monitor and review travel businesses who hold ATAS accreditation and, for the most part, this has enabled AFTA to predict certain outcomes.

“But on this occasion, unfortunately AFTA was not in a position to either provide advance support to the business prior to its failure or predict this outcome.

“While the liquidation process will need to run its course, a much deeper review of the situation is being undertaken by AFTA and a further review of the ATAS scheme will be given serious consideration as it applies to online travel agents in Australia.”

AFTA understands that for the majority of consumers impacted by this situation, tickets will be honoured or remedies via a credit card chargeback will provide the protection required.

The industry body said it will offer support to customers and impacted travel suppliers as the situation unfolds, and will provide further updates as the information becomes available.

Travel Weekly has contacted liquidator Nicarson Natkunarajah of Roger and Carson for comment.

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