ONLINE TICKETING CURRENTLY UNAVAILBLE. Call 0151 350 1199 for urgent ticketing enquires.

Bulletin 9 from Michael Edwards, Managing Director

Michael Edwards Bulletin 9

1 June 2020

  1. Introduction
  2. Refunds – Flights
  3. Refunds – Groups
  4. Refunds – BSP
  5. Exchange Travel Credit – Recap and System Enhancements
  6. Airline News

  1. Introduction

 

In this bulletin, I have chosen to recap on what are the key focal points for our customers, Refund timelines, Exchange Travel Credits and airline news.

In key news this week, we have heard that Rishi Sunak has authorised a bailout plan ‘Project Birch’ to save companies whose demise would disproportionately harm the UK economy.  Aviation has been listed as one of those industries that may benefit from Project Birch, and we hope this signals more positive news for our industry.

I am also very pleased to remind you that our office is open again, we have had a number of our staff back in the office in Chester over the past couple of weeks.  We have put social distancing measures in place to ensure the team’s safety.  All our phone lines are now open between 09:00 – 17:30. Although our preferred contact method remains via email where our team is available 08:00 – 19:00 weekdays and 09:00 – 15:00 Saturdays too.

  1. Refunds – Flights

I am pleased to confirm the most recent refund cycle (01 June) will be completed today as per the schedule below.

It is important to note that we must make all refund payments back onto the original form of payment.  If the original form of payment was via Credit/Debit card, we cannot guarantee when this will appear on your statement as this is dependent on your card merchant.

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

YES

16 to 31 March

17 April

01 May

YES

01 to 15 April

04 May

18 May

YES

16 to 30 April

18 May

01 June

YES

01 to 15 May

02 June*

16 June

16 to 31 May

17 June*

01 July

01 to 15 June

02 July*

16 July

16 to 30 June

17 July*

03 August

*We will need these clear funds from IATA/the airlines before processing your Refunds to you.

  1. Refunds – Groups

As outlined in my last Bulletin, Group refund policies vary airline to airline, and many airlines have updated their policies as the situation evolves.  Your individual groups terms will have been confirmed to you at the point of cancellation.

Many airlines are forcing refunds offline via BSPLink, which will significantly slow down the rate at which they will refund.  Some airlines are not even dealing with Groups refunds currently, making it impossible for us to estimate timelines. We are protesting vigorously to resolve these issues.

A list of airlines and their refund methods can be found here (see column Full Refunds Permitted).

Particularly relevant to Groups, please note that we must make all refund payments back onto the original form of payment.  If the original form of payment was via Credit/Debit card, we cannot guarantee when this will appear on your statement as this is dependent on your card merchant.

Lime (British Airways) Group Refund Timeline

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

Expected Payment date

(from British Airways to Lime)

Refunds paid to Tour Operator (at latest by)

Cycle Complete

16 to 31 March

30 April

01 June

YES

01 to 15 April

15 May

16 June

16 to 30 April

29 May

23 June

01 to 15 May

12 June*

30 June

16 to 31 May

26 June*

07 July

01 to 15 June

10 July*

23 July

16 to 30 June

27 July*

10 August

This timeline covers Group booking in all their various stages – deposited, fully paid (not ticketed) and ticketed.  *Dates are based on British Airways payment for refunds and presume monies are refunded to Lime in line with this cycle.

Aviate Airline Group Refund Timeline (including Virgin Atlantic Flightstore)

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

Expected Payment date

(from airlines to Aviate)

Refunds paid to Tour Operator (at latest by)

Cycle Complete

16 to 31 March

15 April

01 June

YES

01 to 15 April

01 May

16 June

16 to 30 April

15 May

23 June

01 to 15 May

01 June

30 June

16 to 31 May

15 June*

07 July

01 June to 15 June

02 July*

23 July

16 June to 30 June

17 July*

10 August

This timeline covers Group bookings in all their various stages – deposited, fully paid (not ticketed) and ticketed.  *Dates are based on IATA payments for GDS refunds and monies are refunded to Aviate by IATA in line with this cycle.

Refunds which require airline authorisation (via BSPLink or other offline method) fall outside of this process and will take longer.

  1. Aviate Refunds via BSPLink

As stated above, refunds via BSPLink fall outside of our usual refund schedules. This process is much longer than we would like as it is wholly reliant on airlines manually authorizing each ticket via online applications. With many airlines furloughing staff these applications are being processed very slowly, if at all.  To try and give you the upmost visibility, we have put together the below table. These timescales are based purely on our current experience from the 5,600 we have submitted so far, and from indications given by certain airlines of when these will be addressed.

The date of submission to the relevant airline will be as per the date of our Refund email response to you. Group refunds will vary and may take longer.

Key Airlines

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

Refunds paid to Tour Operator (at latest)

EK/EY/SQ/VN/CX

7-9 weeks

+ 2 weeks

VS

12- 16 weeks

+ 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

No refunds authorised to date

+ 2 weeks

This means for BSPLINK refund claims, if for example, the submission was in early April then for Emirates, Etihad, Singapore, Vietnam, and Cathy Pacific, we should repay these to you from mid-June.  The later the submission, of course, the later the repayment dates. The greater the predicted delay from the airline then the timelines are more dubious.

  1. Exchange Travel Credits – Recap and System Enhancements

We all would prefer for our clients to rebook rather than refund, so I wanted to take this opportunity to cover Exchange Travel Credits (ETCs) again.  As many of you will know, airlines have put policies in place to allow this by turning the clients original ticket into an Exchange Travel Credit (sometimes in the form of an EMD).

Airline policies can be found here:

Lime (British Airways)

Aviate

Virgin Atlantic Flightstore

If your clients are happy to accept an ETC then you simply need to login to your original booking via your Lime, Aviate or Virgin Atlantic Flightstore account

To convert a booking into an Exchange Travel Credit under each airline’s policy

  • Make note of the original PNR and e-ticket numbers for future reference when you come to rebook, also ensure you are clear on the expiry date of the ETC

  • Use the ‘Disruption Cancellation’ button in the ‘Display Booking’ screen within the booking (this function will remove the original sectors in the booking but keep the e-ticket open).

To redeem the Exchange Travel Credit

  • Create a new booking in the usual manner

  • Once the new itinerary is chosen, click the ‘Disruption Booking’ button

  • A pop-up box will appear requesting the original e- ticket numbers to be added to each passenger (the system requires the full 13-digit ticket number without the hyphen).  Ensure the correct original e-ticket number is added to the relevant passenger

  • Click ‘Book’ on the pop-up box

  • When ready to ticket these bookings, from the booking display page use the new ‘Request, Price & Ticket’ button

Accepting and redeeming the Exchange Travel Credit via your GDS

To our customers who use Sabre, Galileo or Worldspan to make your bookings we recommend the following actions to secure Exchange Travel Credit. For Amadeus customers, the above process via our systems should be used.

  • Cancel the flight itinerary

  • Add in a Retention line

  • End transaction - this will ensure the value held in your e-tickets is not lost should flights go into No Show state

  • Rebook new dates in same PNR when your customer is ready

  • Request ticketing directly with our Customer Support team as per the below contact details

Customer support

0151 350 1110
info@aviateworld.com

As airline policies can change at any time, we strongly recommend that you request ticket issue on your new booking as soon as created. We are sorry but we cannot be held responsible if subsequently an airline changes a policy – although as always, we will work with you in an attempt to resolve individual issues.

Retention line entries:


Worldspan: TNZZMK1MIS20DEC/AN-RETENTION SEGMENT (1 means number of passengers, 20Dec is the live until date)


Sabre: 0OTHAAGK1MIA20DEC-RETENTION LINE


Galileo: RT.T /DATE*KEEP BOOKING LIVE

Note: If you do not follow these procedures then your ETC may be forfeited

  1. Airline News

A. SA Airlink reaches agreement with South African Airways on re-accommodation of South African Airways tickets

Before January 2020 all SA Airlink bookings were ticketed under South African Airways (SAA). However, in January 2020 this was ended by both airlines. Airlink bookings had to be booked & ticketed on their own code for travel beyond June 2020. Consequentially, SAA were not able to ticket Airlink flights for travel after June. Due to this, any bookings that were scheduled to fly in March, April and May 2020 on Airlink but ticketed through SAA are not able to be rebooked as SAA. SAA no longer have the authority to ticket Airlink flights. As a result, bookings due to travel in March, April and May 2020 cannot be used as a like for like travel credit for when the passenger rebooks.

As your March, April and May 2020 SAA tickets on Airlink cannot be used a future credit for Airlink flights, the two airlines have reached an agreement to rebook all un-flown Airlink flights ticketed through SAA as pure Airlink tickets, this will enable you to use these bookings as future credit for travel on the same flights - as originally booked, later in 2020 or 2021. This process will be carried out by Airlink’s head office, who will advise Aviate when all tickets have been transferred from SAA codeshare tickets to pure Airlink tickets. The agreement is only valid for bookings ticketed after the 6th December 2019.

Please note: Bookings ticketed before the 6th December will still be able to make full use of South African Airway’s commercial policy but will remain as an SAA ticket.

To read the full update click here

 

B. Thai Airways Enters Restructuring Programme

Thai Airways have seen the approval of their business reorganisation plan by the Government of Thailand, who have a 51% stake in the airline. The business’ restructuring programme is an effort by the airline to become more efficient, resilient, and competitive while maintaining their high standards of service.

Thai Airways have reiterated to Aviate that the carrier; “is able to operate flights and run its business as usual. THAI will not be dissolved or go into liquidation or be declared bankrupt.”

The airline are still on track to start flying internationally after June 2020 with a limited network, gradually introducing more international flights to the schedule pending government approval.

C. Norwegian Secures State Aid

Norwegian has confirmed its restructuring has been completed and that the state loan guarantee of NOK 3 billion (£246 million) has been approved.

Over the past 18 months the airline has undergone a restructuring programme, which has seen the airline concentrate on more profitable aspects of the business. The restructure and government backed loan will see Norwegian continue the transformation of the airline, enabling it to continue flying once global travel restrictions have been lifted.

For more details please see the full press release

D. LATAM Voluntarily Enters Chapter 11

LATAM have filed to reorganize the airline under Chapter 11 protection in the United States. This will allow the group to carry out a voluntary reorganization and restructuring of its debt, emerging as a more agile, resilient, and sustainable airline group when they return to the skies.  LATAM’s announcement will not impact your customers and here at Aviate we will continue to work with LATAM the same way we always have. The airline has guaranteed future bookings, current credit vouchers and refunds that are being processed with the airline.

For more information please see the full article here.LATAM have also created a dedicated microsite for key information about the reorganisation process; www.LATAMreorganization.com

We will continue to publish all relevant news articles and press releases from our airline partners as soon as we have them.

They can be found on each company’s website Lime, Aviate, Virgin Atlantic Flightstore.

Back to all Bulletins

Access my account