SWEEPING new laws could soon be launched to support UK passengers abroad when an airline or holiday company collapses into insolvency.

For the first time, planes belonging to insolvent companies will be able to continue flying and bring holidaymakers home, under new insolvency regulations to be introduced by the Government.

The move follows last month’s sudden collapse into compulsory liquidation of holiday giant Thomas Cook, and the widespread chaos is caused in airports from Leeds to Lanzarote; Newcastle to Nice.

Its high-profile failure left 140,000 passengers stranded overseas, including many from Yorkshire and the North East, while the company’s fleet of planes were grounded under strict insolvency rules.

The insolvency triggered the biggest peacetime repatriation of Brits abroad – at an estimated cost to the taxpayer of £100m. There have also been over 8,000 redundancies as a result of its insolvency.

Now, as part of proposed new insolvency reforms, insolvent airlines could instead be placed in “special administration” in the future – which would allow them to bring passengers back to the UK.

The idea would mean the Civil Aviation Authority could use an insolvent airline’s existing infrastructure, planes and staff to bring holidaymakers home. This is currently not possible under UK’s strict insolvency laws.The reform is part of a new action plan recommended by the Airline Insolvency Review.

The review was set up after the insolvency collapse of Monarch Airlines in 2017, which saw 80,000 passengers stranded in similar circumstances to the Thomas Cook insolvency, with a repatriation cost of £50m.

The planned change comes as insolvency experts suggest other airlines could also fall victim to challenging marketing conditions, unless they adopt a successful business recovery or business turnaround plan.

However, other reforms recommended by the Airline Insolvency Review – including a compulsory airline levy of around 50p per passenger to help fund repatriation efforts – are unlikely to figure in the updated insolvency legislation.

When Thomas Cook fell into insolvency, it also led to the closure of all its 70 High Street stores across Yorkshire and the North East

These included: Barnsley, Beverley, Berwick-on-Tweed, Bishop Auckland, Bradford, Brighouse, Castleford, Catterick Garrison, Cleckheaton, Darlington, Dewsbury, Doncaster, Driffield, Durham, Gateshead, Grimsby, Halifax, Harrogate, Hartlepool, Holmfirth, Huddersfield, Hull, Ilkley, Keighley, Leeds, Middlesbrough, Mirfield, Morpeth, Newcastle, Ossett, Pontefract, Pudsey, Redcar, Rotherham, Sheffield, Stockton-on-Tees, Sunderland, Wakefield, Washington and York.

But there has been good news for employees of these insolvency-hit branches after it was revealed Sunderland-based Hays Travel is planning to take over many locations and retain staff.

Hays Travel is already a well- known name on the a High Streets of Yorkshire and the North East, with its own branch network including stores in Ashington, Barnard Castle, Beverley, Billingham, Bishop Auckland, Blyth, Bradford, Bridlington, Brighouse, Castleford, Chapeltown (Sheffield), Chester-le-Street, Cockerton (Darlington), Consett, Cramlington, Crook, Crossgates (Leeds), Darlington, Doncaster, Durham, Gateshead, Halifax, Hartlepool, Hexham, Huddersfield, Hull, Keighley, Knaresborough, Leeds, Malton, Morpeth, Newcastle, Newton Aycliffe, North Shields, Northallerton, Peterlee, Pickering, Pocklington, Pontefract, Redcar, Ripon, Scarborough, Seaham, Selby, Sedgefield, Shipley, South Shields, Spennymoor, Stanley, Stockton, Sunderland, Thirsk, Wakefield, Washington, Whitley Bat, Yarm and York.

Here at Walsh Taylor, when financial difficulties arise, we’ll put time on your side.

For more information on how our licensed insolvency specialists and business recovery teams in Leeds, Bradford, Harrogate and Darlington can help you, please call us on 03300 244 660 or email confidential@walshtaylor.co.uk

Mary Taylor

Mary began working in insolvency for a national accountancy practice in Glasgow thirty years ago and worked in most divisions of the insolvency department.

She then moved to a smaller firm so she could advance her knowledge on a more hands on basis. She moved back to Leeds in 1987 and commenced working with a small firm of accountants and subsequently made partner.

She left in 1999 to set up her own practice, McCann Taylor.
McCann Taylor became involved with the consumer market both in England and Scotland.

Mary sold McCann Taylor in March 2007 and formed Walsh Taylor to concentrate on helping businesses experiencing financial difficulties.

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