STA Travel ceases trading as the firm becomes the latest victim of coronavirus pandemic

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MAJOR company STA Travel UK has gone out of business, it has been announced.

Thousands of customers are expected to begin chasing refunds after the company, which employed around 500 staff in 50 high street branches and its central London HQ, collapsed today.

STA Travel has gone out of business due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic

It comes after it was yesterday reported that the future of the company was in doubt after it became the latest business to report problems resulting from the coronavirus lockdown.

Worldwide, STA has almost 2,000 employees working in over 200 stores. It is understood some branches will remain open.

The long-established agency – whose initials are derived from its original parent company, Student Travel Australia – specialised in cheap air fares and adventure tours for young people.

STA Travel has an Atol licence to carry just over 34,000 passengers. This means holidays which have been booked together are protected. 

The company blamed the coronavirus pandemic, stating that it had “brought the travel industry to a standstill”.

STA parent company, Switzerland-based Diethelm Keller Group, said the company has not been immune from the “global magnitude of the pandemic”.

The agency’s Swiss parent company, Diethelm Keller Group, filed for insolvency on Thursday saying it was hoped individual businesses could continue trading.

In a statement yesterday, it said: “Sales have not picked up as anticipated, due to consumer uncertainties, further restrictions and renewed lock-down measures, which are expected to largely continue into 2021.

“As a consequence, STA Travel Holding AG, is filing for insolvency.”

And tonight a statement appeared on the STA Travel website which read: “Due to the recent announcement that STA Travel UK has ceased trading, unfortunately our travel experts are unable to assist you at this time.

“Please be assured that if you had a previous booking with us, or hold a live booking, you will receive further communication in the coming days.

“We are sorry for the inconvenience and the limited information available to you at this time.”

ABTA – the leading association of travel agents and tour operators – confirmed that STA Travel has ceased trading.

A statement posted on the ABTA website says: “We are sorry to inform you that STA Travel Limited ceased trading from 21 August 2020.

“STA Travel Limited traded from 50 locations around the UK.”

ABTA has also issued advice for customers, many of whom have been seeking refunds for months.

They say: “The majority of holidays sold by STA Travel Limited were flight-inclusive packages and these were protected by the CAA’s ATOL scheme, as well as scheduled airline tickets under its IATA licence and as agent for the airline.

“STA Travel Limited also sold some packages which did not include flights and were protected by ABTA as well as holidays as an agent for other tour operators.”

Globally, the travel and aviation industry is feeling the financial hit following months of lockdown and cancelled flights and holidays.

It is expected that nearly three million British travel and ­tourism jobs are on the verge of disappearing — while the economy is close to losing £142billion from the travel sector.

British Airways are slashing up to 12,000 jobs from its 42,000-strong workforce due to a collapse in flight numbers.

At the start of the month Hays travel announced 878 employees out of 4,500 could lose their jobs.

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