Thousands of British summer holiday plans in ruins after villa specialist Air Parade goes bust

Firm, whose main trading arm is Villa Parade, said it had 'ceased trading with immediate effect'

Up to 10,000 British travellers have had their holiday plans scuppered following the collapse of a Yorkshire-based villa specialist. Air Parade Ltd of Huddersfield went bust on Wednesday night after weeks of speculation about its future.

The company, a member of Abta, posted a message on its website saying it had “ceased trading with immediate effect”.

The firm’s main trading brand was Villa Parade. It sold villa holidays around the Mediterranean, particularly on the Spanish island of Mallorca, and in Florida. Abta, the travel association, believes that the company has 2,000 forward bookings. Since each booking is typically for a family or larger group, it is possible that 10,000 UK holidaymakers are faced with finding short-notice alternatives for the summer - even though they had paid months in advance.

Concerns about the company were raised last month by customers of Villa Parade who had booked accommodation in Mallorca. A rival firm, Travelopo, emailed them to say that the owners of the properties had not been paid by Villa Parade; as a result, the email asserted, the bookings were not valid. Travelopo offered to re-book accommodation, but at a higher price.

Last week Villa Parade won an injunction at the High Court forcing Travelopo to retract its allegations. Travelopo was thrown out of Abta last month, due to what the association called its failure to meet the “financial requirements of membership”.

In the weeks leading up to the collapse of Villa Parade, repeated enquiries from The Independent about the company’s financial state failed to get a response.

Right up until the failure, the firm was assuring customers and the travel trade that the rumours were unfounded. In a message to customers, the managing director, Ian Sheekey, said: “Villa Parade has been trading for over 15 years and has a strong financial base … Rest assured we will be doing our best to ensure you have a fantastic holiday with us in 2014.”

Despite the reassurances, anxious holidaymakers with Villa Parade bookings continued to contact The Independent. One said: “We have a villa booked through them for Moraira in August and out of interest contacted the agent for the owner as our final balance is due. They confirmed they have cancelled their contract with Villa Parade as they have not been paid for any of their holidays and were re-advertising their villas.”

About one in five of the Villa Parade customers had bought packages comprising flights and accommodation from the company. They should be able to obtain refunds from the Civil Aviation Authority under the ATOL scheme. The CAA says it is “working closely with the failed company”.

The majority of customers bought their own flights separately, obliging them to search for scarce accommodation as the main summer season gets under way. They will be able to claim back the money paid to Villa Parade through an Abta bond; the association’s Consumer Helpline is 020-3117 0599, and applications are available through Abta's “Travel Clinic” at abta.com. But Abta protection does not cover flights when these have been bought separately, usually direct from the airline.

A spokeswoman for Abta said that refunds should be processed "within days or weeks". Past experience suggests refunds from the CAA could take several months. Meanwhile prices for alternative accommodation are increasing sharply.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Manager - Visitor Fundraising

    £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...

    Recruitment Genius: Developer

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

    Recruitment Genius: Estates Contracts & Leases Manager

    £30000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Estates Team of this group ...

    Guru Careers: Brand Manager / Marketing Campaign Manager

    COMPETITIVE: Guru Careers: A Brand Manager / Marketing Campaign Manager is req...

    Day In a Page

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
    Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
    Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

    Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

    Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
    Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

    Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

    The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
    Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

    Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

    His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

    Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future