XL Leisure Group focus of refinancing speculation
XL Leisure Group is at the centre of speculation over refinancing plans.
Weekend newspaper reports claimed that the UK's third largest tour operating group was in urgent refinancing negotiations.
Financing associated with fuel hedging positions is understood to be at the centre of discussions.
A spokesman for XL, which includes XL Airways and operator brands such as Kosmar Holidays, Aspire, Travel City Direct and Freedom Flights, reportedly said it was not close to breaching the terms of its banking loans.
But he confirmed that the group was talking to a number of third parties as part of an ongoing financial process.
A statement said: "The group is engaged with a number of third parties as part of this process and has no further comment on the specifics of the refinancing.
"Whilst acknowledging it is a challenging market, the XL Leisure Group is experiencing strong trading with bookings for 2009 already outperforming last year.
"In addition, XL Airways has been the highest-performing airline at Gatwick and Manchester on punctuality during the month of July. With the addition of new aircraft this year XL will also be operating the youngest fleet of short haul aircraft in the UK."
One industry insider close to XL was quoted in today's Daily Telegraph as saying the situation was "retrievable", adding that the "consensus is that there is light at the end of the tunnel" for XL.
With permission from Travelmole
No doubt first thing tomorrow the CAA and ABTA will have all the information required for those who have bookings, lets hope we can get everyone home with as little stress as possible.
To those of you thinking about booking your holidays (with whichever company you choose) - please do so, pay by credit card and escape the British weather, there are plenty of people relying on your business to live.
The companies that are part of XL and that have ceased trading immediately are -
Aspire Holidays Limited
Freedom Flights Limited
The Really Great Holiday Company (Cruise City)
The Florida Skytrain
Travel City Direct
Travel City International
I fear that as a result of this collapse of the 3rd largest tour operator in the UK there could be more companies to follow as a direct result.
I'm off to work now, we dont close til 10 in the evening, I dont think I'm going to be home before then.
I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I stopped smoking not too long ago, I'm tempted to pick up some on the way there, I think I will need it.
Time to go! All hands to the pump!
I blame the likes of ryanain who sell cheap flights.
Its unsustainable and a false economy.
We don't use travel agents to book our holidays preferring to do diy. However, we do use a credit card for amounts over £100 which gives you protection.
Not a good time to be planning air travel too far ahead I think.
But this failure of the No 3 operator throws up more worries for the future. It will be a long time before DIY replaces TOs and agents. Not everyone pays by credit card, or more likely are not aware of the protection and object to the fee charged. There is also the marketing with low deposit schemes - those with families and tight budgets besides older people who are comforted by the big name logo will still make up a big part of trade.
Operators such as XL grew from the dissatisfaction many had with the big two - Thomson and Thos Cook.
Same destinations and hotels yet substantially lower prices. Are we going to see an even bigger rise in prices if the marketplace is going to be dominated even further by the big two?
Whilst big savings are possible with DIY what people really need at this time of financial uncertainty is an assurance that their money is safe. Only now are many coming to realise that the ATOL symbol for a company does not always mean you are covered.
One other point to consider is that booking direct with the hotels in these uncertain times may not be as secure as people may think. Accommodation that has enjoyed a nice chunk of business with the failed companies may also be feeling the pinch.
I feel sorry for those effected and i'm glad i didnt book with XL for my December holiday which we had looked into and booked with First Choice instead.
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