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Bulletin 13 from Michael Edwards, Managing Director

  1. Introduction
  2. Refunds

A)Flights

B)BSPLink

C)Lime (British Airways) & Aviate airlines Groups Refunds

  1. We Are With You – fulfilling our promise to you

A)Direct Debit Scheme

B)Ticket Protection Scheme

C)Early Ticketing Prompt

D)Policies and Regulations Support

  1. Virgin Atlantic News

A)Virgin Atlantic accomplishes first step in restructure plans

B)Virgin Atlantic Covid-19 Policy Cover

C)Virgin Atlantic Refunds

D)Virgin Atlantic launches new Pakistan routes

  1. Low Cost Airlines Coming Soon

1. Introduction

Bulletin 13 – unlucky for some?  Let’s hope not! We don’t want any more bad luck, do we?

I am not going to begin this bulletin with the phrases we have all become tired of hearing ‘we’re in this together’, ‘there’s light at the end of the tunnel’, ‘unprecedented circumstances’ and so on.  I am sure I am not alone when I say it is hard to comprehend that we are at the end of August and the Covid-19 situation is still rumbling on.  We all hoped that come autumn (at the latest), we would see something like normality return – this is very clearly not the case.  With UK quarantine requirements, airlines wrestling with their schedules and the erosion of consumer confidence the remainder of the year is certainly going to be a challenge.

We do carry on though.  We are all determined to see our way through this and enjoy success once more.

On a rather selfish note, it is promising that we have seen the return of the more typical British weather thanks to Storms Ellen and Francis who have battered the UK over the last week or two – so there’s hope our customers will remember that the British weather is not always so kind and will start booking foreign travel once more!

2. A. Lime and Aviate Flights Refunds via GDS

We are pleased to confirm, when possible, we are often getting refunds out to you much earlier than the timescales stated within the tables below.  We will continue to work studiously and swiftly as we know how important the refunds are to you.  To reflect on the situation to date, we have now applied for 14,550 refunds to the airlines on your behalf via GDS, to the value of £25,288,803.

Processed for Refund (email confirmation sent to you by us)

Expected Payment date

(from airlines to us)

Refunds paid to Tour Operator (at latest by)

Cycle Complete

Up to 15 March

02 April

16 April

Y

16 to 31 March

17 April

01 May

Y

01 to 15 April

04 May

18 May

Y

16 to 30 April

18 May

01 June

Y

01 to 15 May

02 June

16 June

Y

16 to 31 May

17 June

01 July

Y

01 to 16 June

02 July

16 July

Y

16 to 30 June

17 July

03 August

Y

01 to 15 July

03 August

17 August

Y

16 to 31 July

17 August

01 September

01 to 16 August

02 September*

16 September

17 to 31 August

17 September*

01 October

*We will need these clear funds from IATA/the airlines before processing your Refunds to you. Refunds will be made back to the original form of payment.

B. Aviate Flights via BSPLink

Regrettably, several airlines continue diverting all refunds through BSPLink which, as we have stated previously, adds significant delays into the system and means it takes much longer to refund you than we would like.  The below table represents some of our higher volume airlines who are still insisting on manually managing refunds via BSPLink and outlines estimated payment timescales.

Unfortunately, as time has passed, even these estimates for some airlines – or at least some of the refunds from some of these airlines – are taking even longer. I can categorically confirm that when refund monies are returned to us by an airline, we act swiftly to repay you your monies. To date since March, we have submitted a total of 7,482 refunds via BSPLink – 52% of these have now been processed for refund.  We also chase / hound / pressure all the airlines with any such outstanding refunds - some with success and others unfortunately not. We believe we have all been patient enough now – and we share your frustration. Again, rest assured we are doing what we can and when we are in receipt of the refund - you will be, very shortly afterwards too.

Please note Etihad Airways (previously included within the table below) have informed us that they will be reopening GDS refunds at the end of this month – which is some positive news. We are pleased to see that Norwegian are now beginning to process refunds.  Unfortunately, we are yet to see Oman Air action any refunds to date.

Key Airlines

Estimated payment date (from airlines to Aviate) from submission date

Refunds paid to Tour Operator (at latest)

EK/SQ/VN/CX

7-9 weeks

+2 weeks

VS

120 days

+2 weeks

LH

14-16 weeks

+2 weeks

WY/UX/TP/TK/MH

6 months

+2 weeks

AFKL

12 months

+2 weeks

MK

24 months

+2 weeks

DY

Ad-hoc

+2 weeks

C. Lime (British Airways) & Aviate Airlines Groups Refunds

In previous bulletins, we have listed Lime (British Airways) Groups Refunds and Aviate airlines Groups refunds on separate tables.  These have now been brought into the same payment cycle which is detailed below – where only future cycles are shown.  All cycles due for completion by 24 August for either Lime or Aviate Groups have been completed to schedule.

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