STA Travel has ceased trading, commenting that sales have not picked up “as anticipated, due to consumer uncertainties, further restrictions and renewed lockdown measures, which are expected to largely continue into 2021”.
The Association of British Travel Agents said the news would "send a shockwave through the industry, bringing to life the very real pressures that travel is under at the moment".
In the UK, the Civil Aviation Authority told customers: “We are aware of a number of consumers whose bookings have been cancelled by STA Travel Ltd as a result of government advice or flight cancellations.
“Consumers that have accepted valid refund credit notes or are due refunds for the cancellation of their Atol-protected booking will be able to submit a claim to Atol through our online portal.”
“If consumers have a flight-only booking that was Atol protected, they will only be able to make a claim if they are still due to travel and have not received a valid ticket.
“Otherwise, consumers should speak to their airline, including if the flight has been cancelled or they have received a voucher for a cancelled flight.”
A spokesperson for Abta, the travel association, said: ”People will have used STA Travel to book package holidays as well as individual air tickets.
“The majority of holidays sold were flight-inclusive packages, which are protected by Atol, and scheduled airline tickets only, which should proceed as normal.
“Non-flight-based packages will be protected by Abta.
“If customers booked a package holiday through STA Travel, and the holiday is provided by another tour operator, they will need to contact the tour operator, who should be able to confirm that their booking will go ahead as normal.
“STA Travel will be a name that is familiar to most people who will have used them to travel or been aware of their name on the high street, and this distressing news will sadly affect the livelihoods of hundreds of employees.”