FTI bankruptcy makes travel agencies sweat

FTI bankruptcy makes travel agencies sweat
FTI bankruptcy makes travel agencies sweat

11,000 employees are employed, 70 in Linz. (dpa/Hoppe)

The insolvency administrator cancelled all FTI trips before the weekend, affecting a total of around 175,000 package tours. “Until last Friday everything was unclear, now it’s easy because all trips have been cancelled,” said the chairman of the Association of Travel Agents in the Chamber of Commerce, Gregor Kadanka.

In the meantime, the German FTI insolvency administrator Axel Bierbach had only cancelled trips until July 5. Now the train is free for rebookings and new bookings. “The travel agencies are very busy because customers want to book a new trip – more than 95 percent of customers definitely want to travel, and they would prefer what they booked (through FTI, note),” Kadanka reported in Vienna on Tuesday.

  • Read more: FTI cancels all trips

The phones are now running hot – holidaymakers want to know whether there is still space in the originally booked destination, whether in the same hotel, whether at the same price. “Everything is trying to sort itself out at the moment – we don’t see any major chaos, it is of course a lot of work,” emphasised the spokesperson for the local travel agencies. “But a lot of bookings have already been rebooked.”

All customers will be compensated

Package holidaymakers don’t have to worry about their money, even in Austria. “The German travel insurance fund is very powerful, so that all customers here are compensated,” says the tourism expert. In this country in particular, customers don’t even have to wait for payments from the fund because the money is in Austria anyway – at the travel agency or not yet fully paid.

Currently, both trips booked well in advance and the upcoming summer holidays are being reorganized at full speed. “The remaining tour operators reacted very quickly with alternative offers,” reported Kadanka. “It happened incredibly quickly.” The sales staff knew exactly where FTI had what capacity and immediately approached the hotels and airlines concerned. “Especially in the summer season, they were able to recreate the offer relatively quickly,” said the industry spokesperson. According to the information, most of the bookings have already been processed.

After Corona – “That was not worth it”

During the Corona period, FTI in Germany – like other large companies – did not receive any support payments, but rather loans, Kadanka explained the genesis of the major bankruptcy. “However, these are associated with very high interest rates, which could not be earned back in such a short time.” FTI recently faced further financial needs. The situation escalated within a few days, like a bank run. “Trust was eroded, suddenly everyone wanted their money.”

FTI, which went bankrupt at the beginning of June, is a large tour operator. It is comparable to Thomas Cook, which also went bankrupt, “but more complex”. While Thomas Cook was a classic beach holiday provider, FTI also had round trips, modular trips, flight-only trips and camper offers in its program.

The German insolvency administrator had estimated the total volume of existing travel bookings to be in the high three-digit million range. All advance payments from package holidaymakers would be refunded by the travel insurance fund, and every package holidaymaker would get their money back. Customers who have only booked individual services such as flights, hotels and transfers through FTI, however, are not entitled to a refund of payments already made by the German Travel Insurance Fund (DRSF). Austrian package holidaymakers are also insured through this fund.

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