Thousands of passengers booked to travel with stricken airline Primera have been left in travel limbo.
The budget operator, which was due to launch a service from Manchester Airport to Malaga this month, has halted operations ahead of filing for bankruptcy. Passengers have been warned not to turn up for flights.
Those who had booked to fly in the future, including on Manchester services, could end up out of pocket – unless they are covered by their own insurance or booked through an agent.
On Tuesday afternoon, Ryanair swooped in with ‘rescue flights’ for passengers affected, including those who had booked to fly on the Manchester-Malaga route.
These low cost fares are on sale now on the Ryanair.com website, for travel between October and March, but must be booked by midnight on Thursday.
Manchester Airport referred customers to the Civil Aviation Authority advice, which urged those expecting return flights to the UK with the operator to make fresh arrangements home.
A Manchester Airport spokesman said: “We understand this will be a difficult time for customers whose travel plans have been disrupted. Passengers who have booked a forthcoming flight with Primera Air should visit the CAA website for advice.
“Whilst it is disappointing that Primera Air will not be flying from Manchester, we do have a number of existing carriers operating services to Malaga.”
Many travellers have condemned the airline’s lack of communication after it was announced on Monday that it had ceased trading ahead of filing for bankruptcy after 14 years of operating.
The Danish airline, which had also begun offering long-haul flights from the UK earlier this year, said it was a ‘sad day’ for staff and passengers after 14 years of operation, citing that ‘several unforeseen misfortunate events severely affected’ its financial standing.
The number of Primera Air passengers left stranded by the collapse is reported to be in the thousands, while those who have booked on tours have been urged to contact their agents.
Stansted said on Monday that travellers due to fly with the airline should not travel to the airport, from which Primera operated flights to Spain and the US.
Passengers can still fly to Malaga from Manchester – with airlines including BA CityFlyer, easyJet, Jet2.com, Ryanair and TUI.
The airline, which had 15 planes, began offering low-cost flights from Stansted and Birmingham to North America – including Washington, Newark, and Toronto – earlier this year.
Most of the operator’s business involved taking Scandinavian holidaymakers to destinations such as Spain, Greece, Italy, Egypt and Turkey.
The collapse comes almost a year to the day after travel firm Monarch went to the wall, leading to the redundancies of nearly 2,000 employees.
More than 110,000 Monarch passengers were left overseas and the Civil Aviation Authority helped repatriate stranded holidaymakers in what Transport Secretary Chris Grayling called an “unprecedented response to an unprecedented situation”.
Your questions, answered:
Primera Air, which flew a fleet of nine aircraft and served destinations across Europe and the US East Coast said it would be ceasing operations on October 2 with the last flight travelling from Malaga to Copenhagen.
What happens if I am stranded abroad?
If you have Atol protection, then you must be found an alternative flight home and need to contact your travel agent. If not, then you will need to book flights and pay for them out of your own pocket.
What should you do if your flight is cancelled?
It depends on how you purchased the flight. If you booked through a travel agent, then you may be covered by Atol protection.
This means the travel firm is responsible for your flight arragements and must find you are a new flight or give you a full refund. If you purchased the flight directly then normally this will not be covered by the Atol scheme. For many passengers, this will mean making your own way home.
Will I get a refund?
Passengers with unused tickets will need to contact the company directly.
It could be that you are covered by your travel insurance.
If you booked a package deal you will likely be covered by ATOL protection.
If you booked your ticket through an airline ticket agent you should speak to the agent in the first instance. They may have provided travel insurance that includes Scheduled Airline Failure cover, so check with your agent.
Primera Air is not covered by the UK Civil Aviation Authority’s ATOL Protection scheme which only covers passengers booked on a package holiday.
What about if I paid by credit card?
If you paid by credit card, you may be able to claim the cost of the flight back through the Consumer Credit Act. To be eligible for this, the flight has to cost more than £100 and been paid for with a credit card.